Turkey: what is driving young people into exile?

According to Turkish statistics more than 250,000 Turks left Turkey to live elsewhere in 2017 - a leap of 42 percent compared to the year before. Most of those turning their back on the country are young, well educated urbanites. While Turkish journalists discuss the motives for this exodus a French commentator draws parallels with another country.

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Cumhuriyet (TR) /

Leaving to give their children a better future

People are emigrating because they see no prospects for the future for their children, Cumhuriyet explains:

“Our country's education system is bad, and the competition to get children into schools with a supposedly better reputation is fierce, because there's too much demand for places. Secular families with good incomes are unhappy that the general quality of education is poor and that the government has imposed a curriculum on schools that effectively turns them into Koranic schools. There are private schools, but they're very expensive. ... On top of all that there's the polarisation of the country and the economic instability.”

France Inter (FR) /

Autocracy has its price

Economic reasons are also driving Turks to leave the country, journalist Anthony Bellager writes on France Inter, adding:

“But that doesn't explain the fact that what the Turks are already calling a 'massive brain-drain' has hit so many, and particularly so many young people. ... That said, Turkey isn't the only country where highly-qualified workers are packing their bags. Russia is also affected. No matter what the economic situation, 300,000 Russians choose to leave the country every year. ... One in five Muscovites and one in three Russian students wants to emigrate. In my view this emigration of highly-skilled workers is the price countries have to pay for autocracy and brutality. Russia and Turkey pride themselves on their new-found 'grandeur' - meanwhile tens of thousands of passports are quietly being issued.”

Sabah (TR) /

Only the mentally disturbed leave a paradise

The emigrants' motives are just pretexts, the pro-government daily Sabah criticises:

“Those who are leaving our beautiful Turkey to go and live abroad as migrants need their heads examined. ... You'd think they were visually impaired. They ignore the great strength of our country, which experienced a coup attempt on 15 July [2016] and is waging a bitter battle against terrorism on a daily basis, and they ignore how successfully it preserves its democracy. ... Let's see if a rich Turk transferring his billions of dollars worth of assets to England understands in the face of Brexit what the word 'crisis' really means.”