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Kurdish Gen Z in Turkey is apolitical, wants to live abroad: survey

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The Generation Z of Turkey’s Kurdish community is increasingly apolitical and believes Turkey is not a safe place to live, hoping to move overseas, according to a recent study by an Istanbul-based think tank.

Spectrum House conducted a survey to determine the outlook on life of young Kurds aged 18 to 25 by interviewing 1,012 subjects in Turkey’s western cities of İstanbul and İzmir as well as the southeastern cities of Diyarbakır, Van and Şırnak. 

Only 19.3 percent of respondents answered “quite interested” to the question “How interested are you in politics?” More than half (52.5 percent) said they are “not interested” and 28.2 percent said “barely interested” in politics.

When asked “Do you think Turkey is a safe place to live?” 63.2 percent said they didn’t think so due to the “security policies of the country.”

In the same context, the survey found that young Kurds who “prefer to live abroad rather than in Turkey” comprised 57.4 percent in the predominantly Kurdish cities and 66.8 percent in the western cities.

In the same vein, close to 70 percent of respondents cited “a good career” and “moving abroad” — 44.4 percent and 24.9 percent, respectively — as their “biggest dream.”

The study also found that 86.1 percent of respondents never read print newspapers and that a majority of those who do did not prefer Kurdish newspapers, with 40 percent of them favoring pro-government dailies.

According to the results of the study, the overwhelming majority of respondents used the Internet to varying degrees, with only 5.4 percent never using it.

“This data represents one of the most important factors that differentiate Generation Z from past generations,” the study concluded.

Only 20.8 percent of young Kurds are satisfied with their lives. Şırnak has the highest percentage of respondents who are not satisfied with their lives (70.6 percent) followed by Diyarbakır with 66.3 percent.

The study found that three-fourths of respondents are not happy with the city they live in, with the highest being in Şırnak at 58.8 percent. The city with the highest satisfaction rate is İzmir.

Three-fourths of respondents reported that they have been discriminated against, 61.9 percent because of their identity, the study found, mostly because of ethnic identity and language.

Turkey’s Kurds have long demanded equal rights and recognition and complain that they are subjected to discrimination and deprived of their basic rights due to their ethnic roots.

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