Record number of Turks apply for asylum in the Netherlands

Record number of Turks apply for asylum in the Netherlands

Figures from the IND show that 1,814 Turks applied for asylum in the third quarter, compared to 250 in the previous quarter. Since 2018, more than 1,300 Turks annually have not applied for their first asylum, and in 2021 there will be more than 2,250. After Syrians and Afghans, Turks now make up the largest group of immigrants in the Netherlands.

“You see a compensatory effect for the corona period,” says Martijn van der Linden from Vluchtelingenwerk. More and more Turkish refugees are also arriving in France and Germany.”

Since 2016, when a coup attempt against Erdogan’s government was launched, the number of asylum applications submitted by Turks in the European Union has risen. The government sees supporters of Islamist cleric Fethullah Gulen as the mastermind behind the attempt. At first, Turkey persecuted people associated with the Gülen movement, but now more people are at risk. They also have something to really fear. “Their applications are granted in 98 percent of cases,” says van der Linden. “This is not about economic refugees.”

The Turks, whose passports were sometimes revoked, end up first in Ter Apel. Journalists, educators, human rights lawyers, and indeed anyone involved in civil society, are at risk of arrest. These are often highly educated. And any Kurdish person, even somewhat politically active, is also not safe.”

Since this summer, Turkish asylum seekers, such as new arrivals from Morocco, South Africa or India, have had to go through an integration process. They have to learn the language and participate in society through work, training or volunteer work. Until May 1, the Turks were not obligated to do so.

However, most of the Turks in Holland did not come here because of asylum, but because of family reunification. Moreover, a growing group of Turks come here to work and study for several years now. This distinguishes the Turks from the Moroccans or the Surinamese, for whom the emigration of highly skilled people does not constitute a motive for coming to Holland.

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