Prompted by the recent protests in Istanbul’s Gezi Park and Taksim Square, some local sociologists have taken to start calling the country’s Youth “Generation Gezi”, indicating their higher engagement on certain issues, and desire to make their voices heard. 

These traits are typical of the Millennial generation as we have been observing them, and based on our The Next Normal research, we wanted to take a look at the specific beliefs and attitudes Millennials in Turkey display compared to their counterparts around the world (Millennials here defined as those aged between 12 and 30).

In line with global averages for Millennials, 94% 12 to 30 year old Millennials in Turkey believe it is their right to stand up for what they believe in – and this is reflected in the recent protests.

In addition, 87% believe in their right to question the government; and 92% believe it is their responsibility to stand up for what is right – also similar to other countries.

In general, Turkish Millennials display a very strong belief in democracy, with 91% considering it their responsibility to vote (upon reaching legal voting age) – a touch above the global average of 87%.

Our data also shows that Turkey stands out from other countries globally by showing a greater tendency than average to place importance on moral justice rather than the law: while 69% of Millennials in Turkey believe it is their responsibility to abide by the law even if you don’t think the laws are fair, this leaves around a third who display a more independent attitude towards justice – significantly higher than the global average of 1 in 5.

The Taksim Square protests were initially sparked by local indignation at plans to cut down 600 trees in Gezi Park to make way for a shopping mall. With 93% of Millennials in Turkey believing it is their responsibility to protect the environment, their response to local authorities’ plans should perhaps not have come as a surprise – although of course the protests have morphed into a much broader platform since.

83% of Millennials in Turkey describe themselves as caring a lot about the environment – somewhat higher than the global average of 77%.

They also have a strong sense of community, which we have seen in action in the way they came together to fight for their cause:

92% believe it is their responsibility to be an active member of the community 89% feel it is personally important to help people in the community

77% agree their age group is getting more involved with social and environmental causes

In all of this, they measure on par with or above the global average.

This sense of community and desire to take action is underpinned by technology: 73% say “I have personally used the internet to get involved with a group of people who share a common goal with me to get something done” – significantly above the global average of 62%

Our data from late 2012 shows some early indications of dissatisfaction with government: 27% of Turkish Millennials believe that government leadership will get better over the next year or two, but 42% believe it will get worse (on balance, a slightly more negative view compared to the global average: -15% vs global average of -12%).

Despite this, 86% of Millennials are very proud to live in Turkey (on par with the global figure for national pride – 85% among 12-30s); and 83% believe in the importance of maintaining local traditions.

So overall, Millennials in Turkey are definitely part of the global community, very much displaying similar traits to Millennials around the world, and are making their opinions heard in the best way the know – through social media and organizing their community.