Nearly half of the youth who vote for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) wants to live abroad, a survey carried out to get a better understanding of the problems and expectations of the youth from different socioeconomic profiles across Turkey showed.
According to the survey conducted by the Social Democracy Foundation (SODEV), 47.5 percent of the voters of the AKP, which has been ruling the country since 2002, said that they would be willing to live abroad if they had the opportunity.
While the overall percentage stood at 62.5 percent, some 74.4 percent of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) voters said that they are willing to leave. The ratio stands around 60 percent for other parties, including the government allied Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
“Half of the youth who vote for the AKP want to live abroad even though they have been feeling the government’s security for 18 years,” SODEV head Ertan Aksoy told Euronews on May 19.
Freedom is the most important thing for the youth in Turkey, the survey said, as 68.3 percent of the youth prioritize expressing their thoughts freely, while 52 percent care about the others being able to do so.
CHP voters showed the highest sensitivity towards freedoms. They also put religious values lower in the order of priority, pointing to a more secular stance.
“A perception of youth that formed over Twitter exists, but the reality is different. Their social and personal priorities are ‘freedoms’ and issue of expressing themselves,” Aksoy said, adding that both the prioritization of freedoms and the willingness to live abroad may be stemming from Turkey’s current atmosphere, in which people get arrested for sharing a tweet.
‘The youth cares about freedoms’
He also said that the youth should not be evaluated via some 3,000 Twitter trolls.
“We look at those accounts and think that their values consist of what’s written. However, that’s not the reality. The youth cares about freedoms,” Aksoy said.
According to the survey, 70 percent of the youth is not economically independent of their families, pointing to the fact that they lack the economic means to get out of the “family comfort zone.”
Some 65.3 percent of the AKP voters said that they live with their families, while the percentages stood at 66.7 percent for the CHP voters, 81.8 percent for the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), 75 percent for the right-wing İYİ (Good) Party and 57.1 percent for the MHP.
Saudi Arabia or Switzerland?
The survey also implemented the method of having people make preferences through presenting alternatives to understand whether the youth prioritize money or freedom.
“Would you like to live in Saudi Arabia with 10,000 dollar monthly income for the rest of your life or in Switzerland with 5,000 dollars?” was asked to the participants, with 72.2 choosing Switzerland. The ratio stood at 60.5 percent for AKP voters and 82.1 for CHP voters.
When the same question was asked by replacing Saudi Arabia with North Korea, 64.3 of the youth once again chose Switzerland.
“The results in these days that feature an economic crisis and intense unemployment came as both surprising and pleasing. Contrary to common belief, the youth wants to live their religion and beliefs as they please, but their priority is their freedom,” Aksoy said.
According to the survey, the youth believes that favoritism still exists when finding jobs. Some 79.3 percent of the participants said that they can lose a job to someone less qualified if they have better connections.
While the ratio stood at 66.5 percent for AKP voters, the highest percentage was among İYİ Party voters.
“The youth wants equal opportunities,” Aksoy said.
Some 27.8 percent of the youth thinks that universities don’t provide what’s necessary for finding a job. The highest ratio was among HDP voters with nearly 50 percent.
When asked whether they can express their thought freely on social media, some 54.5 percent of the HDP voters said that they can’t. The ratio was 12.8 percent for CHP voters and 9.6 for AKP-voting youth.