The 17-year-old girl Irem Abdurrazzakoglu opens our eyes to the urgent need for young people in Turkey to raise their voices and defend their ideas and opinions. The WYRED Project helps them to express their thoughts freely.
My name is İrem Abdurrazzakoğlu. I am a student from Çamlıca Theological High School for Girls in Turkey. I am 17 years old and I believe that, as a young person, I need to express my thoughts.
The WYRED project is an umbrella platform for me, on which we can work on creative projects, express our ideas and take on responsibilities. We will be thrown into the ‘adult world’ sooner or later, so before this happens we should improve ourselves. I attended the WYRED social dialogues and joined the community as a teenager to produce new ideas with other students. Today, young people are not given much space to have a say. However, we want to change that. With projects such as WYRED, which enables us to make ourvoices heard, we are taking trainings for a society in which everyone freely shares ideas, respects ideas and is equal.
After the general elections in Turkey, I thought I should revise my topic and decide to write about democracy. As we all know, we live in a world where democracy prevails. Every day, many regulations are made in order to make people’s life easier. Although the layout we live in looks nice from the outside, does it actually give us the opportunity to express our thoughts freely? With the recent elections in our country, young people started to get more attention from the state. We started to follow the demonstrations organised by the party leaders. With these regulations, we are told, young people will have more rights and advantages. When will we start to express ourselves better as young people? It is obvious that each person will have their own ideas. We all want to tell people about these ideas in the best possible way. As a matter of fact, we are fighting a lot about our ideas. We all strive to defeat each other in the direction of our political ideals and ideologies. Sometimes we break each other’s hearts to justify our ideas. Sometimes adults try to impose their ideas on us and do not allow us to have our own thoughts. It is not well received for a right-wing father to have a left-wing child. In such situations, we simply keep our ideas to ourselves and remain silent. Sometimes we are not allowed to talk, they say we are too young to defend our ideas. We often hear that we do not know anything and that’s why we cannot decide.
In short, we cannot have any idea, we cannot defend ourselves ideologically and we do not respect the opinions of others. But we can change it, we can learn to argue in a respectful way and prove that we have meaningful ideas. In addition to the above, young people cannot explain their own thoughts as much in school. One of the main reasons for this is that students are not taken seriously by administrators. Students are hesitant to submit their ideas and suggestions in their schools, or they cannot get a feedback. They face a sanction; they are subject to disciplinary threats or cannot receive a response. If our own ideas are not respected, our self-esteem as young people is damaged, we are forced to stay in silence and we are exposed to injustice. Some changes must be made so that young people in schools do not face such situations. For example, a school council should be established and every student should be able to express complaints and suggestions. In the elections held in school, every student must be eligible without any age and class restrictions. Students should not be dismissed when they comment on a situation. The administrators should always be open to students and give importance to their ideas. Do not forget that we are young people, representatives of the future and our ideas are important.
Listen to the young people’s voice, please. We are trying to raise it.