Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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Turkey Faces Growing Exodus of Young Turks

Monday 30/January/2023 - 02:39 PM
The Reference
By: Ahmed Seif El-Din

A Dutch recruiting firm recently approached Turkish data scientist Bulut Ficici for a job in the Netherlands. Ficici didn't hesitate to make the move, as he and many other young, disillusioned Turks are leaving their country due to political and economic concerns. A recent survey showed that over 70% of people ages 18 to 25 would prefer to live elsewhere, and more than 60% don't see a good future in Turkey. The outflow of Turkish capital has also increased, with Turkey losing the third-most millionaires in the world and a steep increase in Turkish capital leaving the country in recent years.

Turkey's Economic and Political Landscape Changes

When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan first took office in 2003, the Turkish economy was prospering, and unemployment rates were falling. However, the "New Turkey" Erdogan sought to establish has increasingly slid into authoritarianism, causing a wave of emigration among people of all backgrounds.

Turkish Diaspora Grows

The new wave of emigration has largely settled in Europe, with over 6.5 million Turks currently living abroad. The Turkish government is facing a tough campaign amid dwindling support in the polls, mostly over its management of the economy. However, the main opposition parties have not yet declared a presidential candidate for the race, leaving people without hope for a positive transformation.

Bulut Ficici's Experience

Ficici enjoys his job and life in the Netherlands but hopes to be able to "live a good life" back in Turkey in his 30s or 40s. He sees his generation as unlucky, as they grew up in a happier and better economy, but now live in fear due to the government and economic hardship.

Negative Impact on Turkey

The recent exodus is taking a toll on Turkey, with the most important capital draining away. There is a disconnect between the government's policies and the younger generation, with higher support for the government manifesting itself in the older generation.

Gokce Tunca's Experience

Gokce Tunca, 39, is an electrical engineer from the Turkish Mediterranean city of Izmir. She moved to France in 2019 after applying for an internal posting overseas. She is not supportive of the current leadership in her country and has connected with many other Turkish people who feel the same way.