Let’s not discourage young people

I often find it difficult to share my thoughts with you on Mondays as the political agenda has been overwhelming in the country, overshadowing the social and economic agenda for a long time. Many people I spoke to on the weekend and this morning thought that peace would again come to our country with the end of the 14 May elections. The reason for this expectation was not about whether the government would change or not, but it was about their hope that the tensions will end after the elections and a free market economy will once again be adopted.

Regardless of the fact that they support the People’s Alliance or the Nation’s Alliance, ordinary citizens do not want the politics of tension to continue.

Everyone expects the inflation figures to be accurate, the exchange rates to be determined in line with the supply-demand balance, the interest rates to go down, and the high cost of living to come to an end, in short, everyone wants to live their lives in a manner worthy of human dignity. They know that increasing salaries and wages further fuel the inflation, and the rents rise and lead to quality and price dilemmas.

“The Thoughts of My Father Are My Legacy.”

The vast majority in Turkey want the country to return to its former, peaceful state, except, of course, those who blindly and unconditionally support the government or the opposition. Every segment of the society demands social justice, civil rights and liberties, and equality. However, there is a severe problem of distrust between the parties, which makes it impossible for groups with similar demands to come together.

I don’t like to say “in the good old days”, but indeed, in the good old days, politics were not as polarized as they are today. People had love for their country and for each other and they respected different opinions. The politicians of the past would not attempt to manipulate their rivals or verbally, or physically abuse them, because they relied on nothing but their intelligence and knowledge whilst they were serving their people. Those who were in charge would not force others to accept their opinions. No one would say to another “if you’re not with me, you’re with them”. Differences, back then, would not lead to disputes, but to an opportunity to enrich shared wisdom.

I really miss those days. It is true that we were struggling with economic difficulties back then, but at least, we were free to have dreams, any dream we might think of. And, I am proud to say that we could achieve most of them. Today, when I ask young people what their dreams are, they can only give me quite limited descriptions of their dreams, which makes me both sad and upset. The lack of possibilities has sadly limited the minds of young people. To encourage them, I always say to them, “First dream, then think about how to achieve it, and take your first step towards it. I will be there whenever you may need help”.

My late father, professor Erdoğan, said to me one day:

“I can teach you everything, except one thing”. I asked him, “What that might be, father?” He smiled and said, “I cannot teach you enthusiasm” and added, “Never let yourself or others discourage the youth”. This was the legacy he left to us.

I hope, after the elections, this country will adopt an approach that accepts that the young people can make the right decision of their own free will, without us limiting their dreams or telling them what to dream of.