Turkey marks Youth Day amid widespread youth unemployment

Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day was celebrated on Thursday in Turkey, where 2.3 million young people are unemployed, corresponding to 41 percent of Turks in the 15-24 age group, local media reported, citing an NGO report.

Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day is celebrated across Turkey to commemorate the Turkish Republic’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s landing at Samsun on May 19, 1919, considered the beginning of the Turkish War of Independence.

According to a report released by the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK-AR) research center on the occasion of May 19, one out of every four young people in Turkey is neither in school nor working.

Although the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat), responsible for producing official statistics on Turkey, announced a youth unemployment rate of 21 percent in the first quarter of 2022, DİSK-AR’s Thursday report showed the figure at as high as 41 percent, meaning that 2.3 million Turks between the ages of 15 and 24 are currently unemployed.

“One out of every two young women in Turkey is unemployed,” the report said, adding that while nearly half the youngsters can’t find a job, most university graduates who do start at a monthly salary close to the minimum wage, which is TL 4,250 ($266).

Over the past several years, Turkey has been suffering from backsliding in its economy, with high inflation and unemployment as well as a poor human rights record. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is criticized for mishandling the economy, emptying the state’s coffers and establishing a one-man rule in the country where dissent is suppressed and opponents are jailed on politically motivated charges.

Turkey’s financial troubles have increased since the country was hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a sudden surge in the number of suicides and closed businesses.

A high cost of living has become the new normal in the country, where recent increases in food and utility prices are pushing up inflation, further crippling the purchasing power of citizens.

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