Irregular Migration in Turkey

image of Irregular Migration in Turkey

In recent years, illegal transit migration through Turkey, together with the use of Turkey’s territory as a transition post for onward migration towards the west, has become an issue of growing importance to the Turkish government. The government seeks to control and manage transit migration, often organized by criminal smuggling and trafficking international networks. This report — based on interviews with migrants, migration officials and traffickers — provides useful insights into the origins and motivations of transit migrants and their reasons for farther migration. It illustrates the workings of well-organized local and international criminal networks and discusses Turkey’s policies and efforts to manage substantial and irregular migration flows through its territory in cooperation with western European countries.



Migrant experiences

As already stated earlier in this study, extensive irregular migration to Turkey began on a significant scale in the 1980s. However, the migratory flow was not a homogenous process but changed not only in terms of its scope and dynamics, but also regarding the characteristics of the migrants involved. While the migrants of the earlier period were predominantly Iranians and Iraqis, current migrants show a greater diversity of origins, although Iraqis and Iranians still dominate. In order to reflect the composition of irregular migrants in Turkey, as recorded by the Bureau for Foreigners, Borders and Asylum at the Directorate of General Security of the Ministry of the Interior, the sample survey included 53 irregular migrants selected on the basis of national and ethnic origin, time of arrival, gender, age, length of residence, marital status, schooling, employment, occupation and manner of entry. Accordingly, the sample contained 13 Iraqis (26%), 13 Iranians (26%), seven Afghans (14%), 12 from African countries (26%), three from European countries (6%) and two from other countries (4%). The sample therefore largely reflects the actual composition of irregular migrants in Turkey.


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