Generation Z is a commonly used term that refers to the generation that was born between the years 1995 and 2010. The significance of this generation cannot be overstated when it comes to the next general election. Some analysts contend that one out of every five potential voters at that time will have come from this generation. Consequently, for many political observers, Generation Z’s 7 million voters will play a key part in determining who comes to power at that election. This explains why the discussion on Generation Z has been high on the agenda of politicians and the mainstream political parties.
According to Meral Candan’s report, published in Duvar Gazetesi, Generation Z does not represent a homogeneous grouping, as many contend. In the report, Rawest Research Director Reha Ruhavioğlu clarifies that Generation Z is heterogeneous. There are conservative and secular Kurds in this generation who will be voting for the AKP or HDP.
According to Ruhavioğlu, it is also misleading to define Generation Z as a generation that is addicted to technology or that is fond of personal freedom. A strikingly common feature of Turkish and Kurdish youth, however, is their concern over their economic future and the problems they currently face. Unemployment and future anxiety are common problems in both groups, but these concerns are higher among the Kurdish youth.
Drawing upon the findings of a previous study, Ruhavioğlu points out that two thirds of Kurdish youth are exposed to discrimination, especially HDP supporters. The use of mother-tongue/native language is another concern, where native language use in younger generations is lower than in others.Ruhavioğlu contends that politicians and political parties have not fully understood the concerns and motivations of this generation.
Criticizing Kurdish mainstream politics in this regard, Ruhavioğlu states that Kurdish politicians need to reappraise and reorient their approaches to this generation. Ruhavioğlu suggests that the AKP is losing its influence on this generation. CHP is taking its place and young people are concerned about the AKP’s Kurdish policy.
The report’s findings also noted the following concerning Generation Z: Some young people have stated that they have actually stayed away from social media due to political pressures, whilst others have stated that using social media effectively did not make this generation ‘unique’ in any way. Apart from this, some young people stated that they were unaware which party or parties their family members voted for. Others stated that the AKP, which has been in power for a long time, should now be replaced.