If I say Turkey, what will you remember about Turkey?

Maybe, seaside, vacation, beautiful buildings and some traditional food. I remembered this feature when I looked from Croatia to Turkey. But if you live in Turkey, it can be so different for you especially if you are young. 

Let’s check closer to Turkey. Turkey is a Eurasian country. Turkey’s population is almost 84 million people and there are 81 cities in Turkey. Istanbul is the most crowded city in Turkey. Istanbul’s population is almost 15 million people according to 2021 data. But also there are so many undocumented immigrants. That’s why the population of Istanbul may be much higher than the official figures.

Young people generally prefer to live in İstanbul because of the job, opportunities, and activities. Let’s listen to youth and explore its good and bad features.

“I don’t have so much free time in Istanbul”

Fatma Çiftçi who is 24-years-old that is studying German Language and Literature at Sakarya which is a city in Turkey. She grew up in İstanbul but she went to Sakarya when she got into university.

Çiftçi says that she likes sitting in a cafe and talking with her friends; if she is alone, she likes watching movies and series in Sakarya. Çiftçi expresses that Sakarya has a good nature but people who live in Sakarya are conservative.

She returned to Istanbul last year because the lessons are online. Also, she is working as an office worker. Fatma Çiftçi explained that she doesn’t have so much free time in Istanbul because she has to work all the time. But if she has free time, she prefers watching series or reading books. She says that everything is so expensive in İstanbul. She states that she was going to the cinema before but she cannot go to the cinema because movie tickets are so expensive.

“Do you want to live in another country?” She replied to this question:

“I want to live in Germany because there is a higher quality of life. Young people in Germany have higher self-confidence because they are supported in many different areas. Young people in Turkey are not supported in every field.”

Taking photos, playing the oud…

Görkem Durusoy who is 24-years-old studied Journalism at Elazığ which is a city in Turkey. Now he is working as a freelance photographer and journalist. The family of Durusoy moved from Elazığ to Istanbul because of economic difficulties in 1989. That’s why he grew up in Istanbul but Durusoy went to Elazığ because he got into university. He says that he was forced because he went from such a big city to a small city and couldn’t find any activity at the beginning. He states that after he made friends, he and his friends created creative activities. Durusoy says that Elazig has a very good music culture and that he learned to play the oud by going to the music community. He likes to travel around Elazig, take pictures, work in the local newspaper and the school newspaper. But he says that Elazığ is a small city and there aren’t many activities for young people. And he says people who live in Elazığ are helpful but conservative.

Now he is living in İstanbul and he describes to this city:

“İstanbul is a very nice city for people who have a traveler spirit and free soul because of historic buildings, big districts to see. Meeting people from different cultures, catching up on different stories are amazing for journalists. Every district of Istanbul brings me different activities. For example, drinking boza in Fatih, eating fish and bread in Eminönü, taking photos in Sultanahmet, and drinking raki in Karaköy. But of course, there are also negative aspects. Transportation is so expensive, finding a job is difficult and life is getting more and more expensive. Young people became more and more worried because of these situations. Activities in Istanbul are enough for young people but if you don’t have money, you cannot do anything.”

“Do you want to live in another country?” he answered the question as:

“I want to live in another country because I want to experience different cultures and I want to live comfortably economically and socially. I want to live without worrying about the future.”

“I like walking in quiet and cycling near the sea”

Tutku Sönmez is 24-years-old and she is working for an NGO as a communication and campaign manager. Previously she was living in Balıkesir, a city in Turkey. She has lived in İstanbul since 2015.

Sönmez likes watching performing arts like musicals, opera, visiting museums and galleries; meeting with her friends, and eating outside. But Sönmez says that she cannot do these activities because of economic difficulties.

She says that there are so many activities and opportunities for young people in İstanbul but she states that she doesn’t like to live in İstanbul because it’s especially very crowded. That’s why Sönmez says that she likes walking in quiet and secluded places and cycling near the sea.

“If you are living in İstanbul, you feel like you are trying to survive,” says Sönmez and adds: “Istanbul is a city where time is limited and time is mostly spent on the roads. Even if young people go to an event, it is difficult to find a safe, fast and economical way to return home after the event. Istanbul is a cosmopolitan city but consists of small ghettos.”

Author: Evin Arslan

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