Push factors intensifying for migration from Turkey - academics

The factors pushing Turks to try to emigrate from their country have intensified over recent years, academics Bahar Baser and Emre Eren Korkmaz wrote, and the tendency to leave has increased among wealthy, secular and educated groups.

“It’s clear that years of intensifying polarisation have left a certain segment of Turkish society tired of living in their country,” Baser and Korkmaz said.

“Many people in the opposition think the rule of law is being eroded, that elections are not fair, that secularism is being replaced by a creeping Islamism (especially in the education sector), and that their lifestyles are in danger.”

This, they said, is fuelling emigration from the country, and “if the result is a steady outflow of privileged, educated citizens, it might cause a significant brain drain, with severe long-term consequences for Turkey’s society and economy.”

However, the more Turks emigrate to a place, the more that societal tensions in the diaspora begin to reflect existing tensions back home, they said.

“Some of the emigrants are finding jobs abroad before they leave; others are testing the waters by immigrating temporarily to try their luck at making a life elsewhere. As the Turkish diaspora grows, it increasingly reflects the contours of the various conflicts at home.”