Transit migrants are increasingly choosing to stay longer in Turkey and are therefore turning into labor migrants, according to Professor Ahmet İçduygu from Koç University, the head of a think tank on migration issues. ‘The Turkish economy is absorbing labor migrants,’ İçduygu tells the Hürriyet Daily News
Hürriyet Daily News - December/08/2014
Turkey is turning from a transit country for migrants into a
migrant-receiving country, according to Professor Ahmet İçduygu, the
director of the Migration Research Center at Koç University in Istanbul.
“Transit migrants are increasingly turning into labor
migrants,” İçduygu told the Hürriyet Daily News, adding that immigration
has so far proven beneficial for the Turkish economy.
Can you give us a very short overview of migration trends in Turkey?
the early republican period, the international migration flow went hand
in hand with the nation-building process, with Turks and Muslims living
in the Balkans and the Caucasus encouraged to come to Turkey.
order to homogenize the population, the 1934 settlement law argued that
Turkey should be populated by people of Turkish descent. In the 1960s,
Turkey was seen as a country of emigration because of labor migration
Starting in the 1980s, Turkey began to turn into a
country of immigration. For the first time in the history of modern
Turkey, non-Muslims and non-Turks started to arrive in Turkey, starting
with the Russian
occupation of Afghanistan and later followed by regime change in Iran.
In addition, Iraqis of different ethnic origins fled the Saddam Hussein
regime in Iraq, while we had two influxes of Bulgarian Turkish refugees
in 1989. In 1991, half a million Kurds from Iraq came, but this was only
A key change that further made Turkey a country
of immigration was the end of the Cold War. Turkey started to receive
“suitcase traders,” who in time turned into labor migrants. They started
to find employment in prostitution and the entertainment business, as
well as in the agriculture, textile, construction industries. So Turkey
received different types of migrants: Labor migrants, refugees and