Turkey’s brain drain to Netherlands doubles in two years - Dutch report

The number of Turks applying for jobs in the Netherlands has doubled in the past two years, left-wing news site Gazete Duvar reported on Sunday, citing statistics from Holland’s Immigration & Naturalisation Service (IND).

A total of 540 university graduate Turks applied for jobs in the Netherlands in 2016, with this number rising to 1020 in the first 11 months of 2018, it said.

The Netherlands received applications from 1020 academics and university graduates during the first 11 months of 2018, with applicants citing ‘’the shortage of freedoms in the country,’’ as the reason for their decision, IND records indicated.

“Many academics have either been removed from their jobs or placed under arrest,’’ Ahmet Hallaçeli who is pursuing a master’s degree at  Eindhoven University after arriving in the Netherlands in March of 2018, told Niuewsuur, a Dutch news program.

‘’We need free minds to pursue science, however, this is not possible in Turkey,’’ he said.

Şölen Aydın is another Turk who is studying in the Netherlands due to ‘’the political and financial situation in Turkey.’’ She does not believe the situation will change in the short term and has opted for life in Europe after seeing many friends detained in Turkey for criticising the government, Gazete Duvar reported.

IND statistics also noted the increase in asylum applications to the Netherlands from members of the Gülen movement, which Ankara accuses of orchestrating the July 2016 coup attempt and has designated a terrorist organisation.

A total of 235 members of the Gülen movement applied for asylum in the Netherlands in 2016, with this number increasing to 481 in 2017 and 1080 in the first 11 months of 2018, Gazete Duvar said.

Since a failed coup attempt on July 15 2016, Turkish authorities have imprisoned thousands they suspect of being members of the group, including many members of the armed forces. Many more have lost their jobs for similar reasons, whilst assets worth billions of dollars have been seized from businesses connected to the movement.

Hundreds of thousands, most of whom are reported to be young professionals, have left Turkey as the country’s political environment has transformed since 2016.

According to official figures from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) a total of 113, 326 Turks have emigrated from the country in 2017.