60% of young Erdogan-supporters would prefer to live in Europe


In a study carried out by SODEV, a pollster, last month 60.5% of youths supporting Erdoğan said they would prefer to live in Christian Switzerland with half the salary they would have earned in Muslim Saudi Arabia.

In 2019, a total of 330,289 people left Turkey to live abroad. Official data shows 40.8% of those who emigrated from Turkey were between the ages of 20-34.

A system running on nepotism

In just the first 65 days of the COVID-19 pandemic, 510 people were arrested for “spreading baseless and provocative messages on social media.” Before that, by the end of 2019, Turkey had banned access to 408,494 web sites, 7,000 Twitter accounts, 40,000 tweets, 10,000 YouTube videos and 6,200 Facebook accounts.

Konda, another pollster, found in 2019 that Turkish youths were less likely than the wider population to identify themselves as “religious conservatives.” They were less likely to fast, pray regularly or (for females) cover their hair.

Ipsos, an international pollster, found that only 12% of Turks trust Islamic clerics.

SODEV, another pollster, found that 60.5% of youths that support Erdoğan said they would prefer to live in Christian Switzerland with half the salary they would earn in Muslim Saudi Arabia. SODEV’s study also found that 70.3% of respondents think a talented youth would never be able to get ahead in professional life without political/bureaucratic “connections,” i.e., without a hidden touch of nepotism. And only 30% of them think one could freely express their opinion on social media.

Over the past three years, hundreds of people have been detained for criticizing Turkish military offensives against Kurdish insurgents in Syria. Dozens have been investigated on charges of attempting to “destabilize the economy” with their tweets. Where targeted bans do not suffice, the government uses blanket ones. Wikipedia was banned between 2017 and this January.

Social Media Ban

Erdogan, after putting all critical journalists behind bars, has introduced a social media ban which passed through parliament on July 29 to force social-media giants to comply with Turkish requests to remove the content shared by critics. Henceforth, companies such as Twitter and Facebook will have to appoint local representatives to process such requests within 48 hours. Those who do not comply will face bans on advertising, fines of up to $6m, and eventually bandwidth cuts of up to 90%, which would make them unusable.

Armed with the new rules and a pliant court system, the government will lean even harder on such companies to take down politically inconvenient material, including old posts, says Yaman Akdeniz, a lawyer who spoke to the Economist. “Articles will vanish from archives,” he warns. “They will try to delete the past.”

Others are worried about provisions requiring user data to be stored locally. “The law says the government can access these data only when they concern a crime or a national-security issue or similar reasons,” says Ahmet Sabanci, a tech writer, “but in Turkey these kinds of laws are bent easily.”