Number of Turks moving abroad increased by 63 percent, says report on emigration

The number of Turkish people moving abroad has increased by 63 percent in 2017 according to a recent policy report on emigration prepared by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Birgün newspaper reported.

“While 69,326 people moved abroad in 2016, this number reached to 113,326 in 2017, increasing by 63 percent,” said the report prepared by Fethi Açıkel, the deputy head of the CHP.

Two-fifth of those emigrated from Turkey are between the ages of 20 and 34, according to the report. The share of women in the total number of people emigrating from Turkey has reached to 42 percent in 2017 from 37 percent in 2016. 

“Over 1,000 of the 24,000 that left Turkey in 2016 to work abroad were engineers. Almost 100 architects are also among them,” the report said.

The increase in emigration from Turkey is highest among doctors and academics, the report said. 

Açıkel said that the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) policies had been forcing Turkish people to move abroad. 

Turkish government announced this month a new scholarship programme to reverse the brain drain among academics.

The discussions on brain drain in Turkey have intensified over the last weeks after İlber Ortaylı, a prominent Turkish historian, advised academics not to rush for going abroad as they could only be employed as waiters in the United States.

Turkey last week detained 13 people, including two well-known academics over what the prosecutors said their role in organising Gezi Park protests in 2013. Many in social media said the detentions explained why academics chose to leave Turkey and work abroad.

“There is no environment for an academic to work in Turkey, said Turkish academic Tuğçe Varol to Euronews Turkish this week.

Varol, who is specialised on energy policies, now rents her house in San Diego via Airbnb to earn a living and describes her situation “a bit better compared to a waitress”.

Many educated people are leaving Turkey not to earn money, but to give their children a better future, Varol said. 

“They also do not care about academic freedoms much,” she said, referring to academics leaving Turkey. “All of them are concerned about their kids. People have given up their jobs, their careers long ago.”