Erdoğan wants to reduce age of candidacy to 18, he says

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday he would like to lower the age of candidacy for the Turkish Parliament to 18 from the existing minimum of 25, an idea he first floated in 2012.

Talking to children in his office during National Sovereignty and Children’s Day celebrations on April 23 in Ankara, Erdoğan reiterated his desire to lower the age of candidacy, pointing out that his party had already lowered it once before. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) lowered the age of candidacy for Parliament from 30 to 25 before the 2011 elections. Erdoğan also noted that most European countries have a lower age of candidacy than Turkey.

During this year’s celebrations, a 9-year-old boy from Ankara Muazzez Karaçay Primary School, Göker İnan, was appointed “prime minister” for a few minutes. Erdoğan and little Göker answered reporters’ questions together. When the boy said that he does not use Twitter because his parents don’t allow it, Erdoğan applauded.

Erdoğan had a recommendation for the children visiting his office: Favor playing in parks and the street over computer games. “Do not become the prisoners of computers; let them be your prisoner,” Erdoğan told the children, adding that he sometimes plays with his grandchildren on the lawn. “I did it this week,” Erdoğan said, going on to suggest that children roll around in the soil and on their lawns.

After Erdoğan spoke to the children about the importance of taking advantage of their childhoods, the little prime minister fielded questions from reporters. When Göker was asked about his opinion on the presidential candidates, he paused for a while and said that they had better ask the question to the “real” prime minister. This made Erdoğan laugh.

After Göker gave short answers to their questions, the prime minister chided the reporters, saying, “You are uncomfortable with [the PM] who talks a lot, but also uncomfortable with the one who talks too little. It is impossible to understand you.”


About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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