Turkey’s brain drain to Netherlands doubles 

Turkey’s brain drain continues unabated as more of its academics and highly educated citizens seek asylum in the Netherlands through applying for asylum.

According to the Immigration and Naturalisation Service – Immigratie en Naturalisatiedienst  (IND), 1,020 Turkish nationals applied for work and and sought asylum in Holland.

The agency’s data shows that 540 university-graduated from Turkey successfully applied for jobs in the Netherlands in 2016, and that number increased to 780 in 2017.

Nieuwsuur (News Hour), a popular current affairs television program on the Netherlands’ public broadcaster Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS) reported that there had been a significant increase in the number of highly educated people moving from Turkey to the Netherlands.

The program reported that Turkish academics and educated citizens are complaining about “the lack of freedom in the country,” and leaving Turkey.

Ahmet Hallaceli, a Turkish academic who studied chemistry at one of Turkey’s top universities has continued his academic work in the Netherlands since last March. He said he wants to be a scientist but an oppressive environment in Turkey does not allow him to carry out his work.

“Many academics are sacked or arrested in Turkey. Academics need a free environment to think but this is not possible in Turkey,” said Hallaceli who is completing his master’s degree at Netherlands’ Eindhoven University.

Gulnur Aybet, the senior adviser to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan admitted that some Turkish academics lost their seats in universities or were detained and arrested for signing “academics for peace.”

This was during an interview with the BBC’s Hard Talk last December.

Aybet further stated that the Turkish government had proceeded to prosecute the 1,128 academics who had signed the “Academics for Peace”, petition in 2016 which called to end state violence and prepare negotiation conditions with Turkey’s Kurdish population in the south-east of the country. (http://m.bianet.org/english/human-rights/170978-academics-we-will-not-be-a-party-to-this-crime)

Solen Aydin, who came to the Netherlands to pursue a masters degree in 2016, also told Nieuwsuur: “I preferred the Netherlands to continue my studies because of Turkey’s worsening political and economic situation. I don’t believe the situation in Turkey will go back to being normal in a short time. I visit Turkey regularly, but I don’t feel safe as many other people are arrested in Turkey for being critical of the government. I found a job in the Netherlands in the marketing sector and signed a five-year contract. My partner also came here.”

According to official figures from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) 69,326 people left Turkey in 2016 and in 2015 the number topped a quarter of a million.

According to IND, two hundred and thirty-five Turkish residents applied for asylum in 2016 and the number increased to six hundred and eighty-one in 2017.

“In the first eleven months of 2018, 1080 people who mostly support the Gülen requested asylum in the Netherlands,” IND reported.

Turkey’s government, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has declared the Gülenist movement led by cleric Fetullah Gülen a terror organisation and given it the name the Fetullah Gülen Terrorist Organisation. His government accuses Gülen and his followers of bring behind the botched July 2016 coup.

It is an accusation that is denied by Gülen and his followers. No other country has recognised the movement as a terror organization.

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