Özge Sebzeci

After 20 years, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan must fear for his power for the first time in Sunday's elections. An entire generation of Turks has grown up without knowing another man at the head of the country. And if Erdogan does fall in these elections, these young people are one reason why. Long ago, Erdogan promised to raise a "pious generation" in Turkey. The opposite has happened: Erdogan has lost the youth.

In Turkey's upcoming elections, some five million young people will be allowed to vote for the first time. Polls show that a majority of them are likely to vote for Kemal Killicdaroglu, the opposition candidate. Kilicdaroglu has announced that he wants to bring the country closer to the European Union. He is hitting a nerve with young people. According to the opinion research institute Konda, which has been surveying Turkish society for years, a kind of generational change is taking place in Turkish society. The children of more conservative families who have moved to the big metropolises in recent years are much less traditional than their parents. They are "the engine of change" in Turkey. 80 percent of young people would like to see the country develop in the direction of Western countries.

Turkey is a country full of contrasts. Progressive and conservative lifestyles are often just a few blocks apart. Young people here have to ask themselves groundbreaking questions early in their lives about belonging, about politics, about their personal vision of life. Especially if they belong to a minority. Many of these questions are really about something. And it seems that Erdogan has run out of answers. Photographer Özge Sebzeci has portrayed young first-time voters. They were all born when Recep Tayyip Erdogan was already in power. They have been ruled by him all their lives. How are they looking at the elections? What gives them hope? What are their dreams?

- written by Fritz Zimmermann for Die Zeit

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