Migration out of Turkey jumps, contradicting Erdoğan’s claims

Turkey lost 330,000 of its citizens in a year to migration, according to the latest official data, jarring with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s claims that Turks no longer want to go abroad for education and work.

Between 2016 and 2018, the number of people who migrated from Turkey increased by 97 percent, Birgün newspaper reported on Monday, citing Turkish Statistical Institute (TUİK) data. Migration was most prevalent among people between the ages of 25 and 29, it said.

"Our people would often have to go to the United States or Europe for university education, to find jobs or seek medical treatment. Thank God, today this picture has largely been reversed,” Erdoğan said on Saturday, Birgün reported. He did not provide any figures.

The latest labour force statistics show that the number of people who are no longer looking for a job in Turkey reached 1.7 million. The most broadly defined definition of youth unemployment rose to 43.5 percent, Birgün said.

Seventy-six percent of people aged between 18 and 29 want to live abroad, research published in September by Yeditepe University showed, according to Birgün. Sixty-four percent of the people said they would leave if they were given permanent citizenship of another country, while only 14 percent said they would stay in Turkey.

Forty-one percent of the population who migrated in 2019 consisted of people between the ages of 20 and 34, news website said, citing research conducted by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). The number of doctors migrating abroad for work totalled 1,042 in 2019 compared with 59 in 2012, it said.

According to UNESCO data, 50,000 students from Turkey go abroad annually for education.