To get a sense of the scope of Turkey’s youth unemployment problem, you don’t have to look much further than downtown Istanbul’s inexpensive cafes, which are invariably jammed with 20-somethings during working hours. The country’s challenge isn’t simply one of creating more jobs to handle the rising tide of young people entering the work force, it’s also a matter of creating quality positions that can meet the heightened expectations of job-seekers.
Setting the stage for the unemployment conundrum is the demographic fact that more than half of Turkey’s estimated population of 75 million people is under the age of 30. And not only are there more youngsters seeking employment, they tend to be better educated than their elders.
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Justin Vela is a freelance reporter based in Istanbul.