Turkey losing billions from youth brain drain - CHP report

The rapidly mounting loss of young emigrant Turks highlighted in a report compiled by Turkey’s main opposition party could be losing the country’s economy over 220 billion lira, ($41.87 billion), Turkish secularist newspaper Cumhuriyet reported on Monday.

The report on Turkey’s “brain drain” prepared by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) found that the number of Turks leaving the country rose by 63 percent in one year to reach 113,326 in 2017.

The majority of emigrants were aged between 20 and 34 years old – the age group CHP deputy leader Fethi Açıkel described as the “Gezi generation,” referring to nationwide protests against AKP policies attended by millions of Turks in the summer of 2013.

The CHP’s report added that the majority of young Turks leaving the country were qualified professionals, with around 24,000 engineers leaving Turkey to work abroad in 2016. Over 5,000 millionaires left the country in 2017 alone, and around 13,000 entrepeneurs and businesspeople have left over the last three years.

The opposition party’s report listed “biased policies” of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government as a main issue driving the wave of migration, and noted that internal migration to municipalities led by the CHP had increased.

Turkey’s political environment has transformed since 2016, a year that saw a failed coup attempt on July 15 that was followed by a two-year state of emergency and widespread crackdown.

The years since have seen the AKP consolidate its power through victories in a referendum in 2017 and presidential and parliamentary elections last June.