Our children

Our children

After the massacre in Ankara, daily Posta printed the photos of some who took to the streets for a peace rally and lost their lives, titling it “Do not forget us.”

Most of the smiling faces in the photos were very young people in their twenties - Şebnem Yurtman, Dilan Sarıkaya, Dicle Deli, Elif Kanlıoğlu, Gökhan Gökbonu, Onur Tan and many others. 

Idealist young people who came from all around the country, from Malatya, İzmir, Tarsus, Mersin, Denizli, Batman in pursuit of what now seems to be “unattainable” dream of peace for this country. Most of them were university students. 

As Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said, “They are our children; children of all of us. We do not even know exactly how many of our children died in the attack.” There are civil society volunteers among them, youth branches of the CHP, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the Labor Party (EMEP). 

The founder of the Community Volunteers Foundation (Tog), which encourages university students to voluntarily participate in social responsibility projects, İbrahim Betil, tweeted: “One of the people we have lost in the massacre in Ankara is one of the thousands of young people, one of the community volunteers working for peace. Sorrow is very deep.” 

Similarly, CHP Istanbul deputy Selina Doğan shared the pain of 11 young people, members of the CHP’s youth branch, who traveled from Malatya to Ankara for the rally.

Wasn’t it last July we again lost our children in the massacre in Şanlıurfa? 

Didn’t 33 young people from the Socialist Youth Associations Federation, who were bringing aid material for the rebuilding of Kobane, fall victim to a massacre similar to Ankara? 

How can a country which loses its youth and even its children constantly in sad events view its future confidently, especially if it is a young country such as Turkey?

According to data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK) Turkey’s young population (15-24) is 16.5 percent, a high percentage compared to many countries. 

In the U.S. this rate is 13.9 percent, in Germany 10.8 percent and in Spain only 9.7 percent. 

Is Turkey able to protect and stand up for such a valuable treasure of the country, actually its future? 

We have seen it was not able to protect it or provide security for it in Suruç and Ankara.

What about education and employment? According to TÜİK’s 2014 data, 7.6 percent of the youth were university graduates. The participation rate of young males into the workforce was 54 percent while this rate for young females was 27.7 percent. The non-agricultural youth unemployment rate was 27.7 percent. 

According to TÜİK’s 2013 “Income and Living Conditions” survey, 22.3 percent of young people between the ages of 15-29 and 24.6 percent of young women were under the risk of poverty. 

Am I too wrong to think this after viewing this data?

For these young people who lost their lives in Ankara, in their dreams of a better society, it is their families and their relatives who contributed to it rather than the state. 

Meanwhile, I wish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, upon the loss of so many young people, could have been able to say “our children.”