Turkey facing ‘exodus’ after asylum requests surge 506%

Turkey facing ‘exodus’ after asylum requests surge 506%
Experts said that the mass exodus is mainly connected to economic hardship and a systematic crackdown on freedom of expression and democracy. (Reuters)
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Updated 03 May 2021

Turkey facing ‘exodus’ after asylum requests surge 506%

Turkey facing ‘exodus’ after asylum requests surge 506%
  • Brain drain triggered by inequality, repression and nepotism, experts warn

ANKARA: A brain drain and youth exodus from Turkey have become increasing points of debate in the country after two TikTok users were recently arrested for posting a satirical video about the inability of young Turks to travel abroad amid the pandemic.

The two 23-year-old users seemingly irked Turkish authorities, and were accused of “openly insulting the state’s sovereign insignia” in the satirical clip.
In Turkey, where even humor has become an inexcusable act for some authorities, an increasing number of citizens are choosing to move abroad, recent statistics show.
The latest data by the European Statistical Office shows that Turkish asylum requests to Europe have increased by 506 percent since 2019.
Experts said that the mass exodus is mainly connected to economic hardship and a systematic crackdown on freedom of expression and democracy.
Turks seeking safe haven in Europe ranked fifth in applications for asylum, immigration and temporary protection to EU countries, ranking just after Syrians, Venezuelans, Afghans and Iraqis.
In the same statistics, Turkey was followed by Somalia, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria and Pakistan.
About 2,995 Turks applied for asylum in EU countries in 2015, but in 2020, the number soared to 18,145.
The trend has escalated in recent years, especially with regards to white-collar, well-educated youth trying to build new lives and new futures in EU countries, most notably Germany, where most Turks applied for protection and asylum.
The large-scale brain drain has been triggered by the “democratic downgrading” in the country, as well as by deterioration in the standard of living, experts say, with most young Turks unable to see a future for themselves in the country.

FASTFACTS

• Turks seeking safe haven in Europe ranked fifth in applications for asylum, immigration and temporary protection to EU countries, ranking just after Syrians, Venezuelans, Afghans and Iraqis.

• In the same statistics, Turkey was followed by Somalia, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria and Pakistan.

• About 2,995 Turks applied for asylum in EU countries in 2015, but in 2020, the number soared to 18,145.

Recent protests by university students against the politically appointed rector to the country’s prestigious Bogazici University, as well as the abrupt Turkish withdrawal from the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention that protects women and girls from domestic violence has further triggered an “emotional break” of young people.
Decreased quality in higher education, diminished possibilities for upward social mobility and widespread nepotism in the labor market have also pushed young people toward hopelessness and anger.
Turkey ranks 153rd in the Reporters Without Borders’ 2021 World Press Freedom Index that was announced on April 17.
The country also tops the list of Council of Europe member countries that receive the most judgments in terms of violations of freedom of expression.
In a recent report, the World Bank found that Turkey’s poverty level rose from 10.2 percent in 2019 to 12.2 percent in 2020. With inflation standing at about 12 percent, the youth unemployment rate in the country is estimated to be as high as 22 percent.
According to official Turkish statistics, in 2019, about 330,289 Turks migrated to Europe, the US and other countries, with the majority being aged between 25 and 29.
Turkey has the largest youth population in Europe — numbering almost 13 million people.
A survey conducted by the Istanbul-based Foundation for Social Democracy (SODEV) last year also revealed that Turkish youth increasingly tend to live abroad.
The survey was carried out across 12 provinces with 600 people aged between 15 and 25. About 62.5 percent of respondents said that they would prefer to live abroad if given a choice.
“Many young people want to emigrate, but those who can afford it can go to the European countries,” Ertan Aksoy, SODEV chairman, told Arab News.
According to Aksoy, young people face trouble expressing themselves for fear of facing criminal proceedings or being imprisoned on charges of insulting a public authority.
“They prefer going to countries where they will live freely and be able to self-accomplish,” he said.
Aksoy added that inequality in the job market has also alienated young people in Turkey.
“Despite having received a high-quality education, they realize that those who are not as qualified as them reach higher scales in the labor market. They even take the risk of working in low-paid jobs in Europe just to be able to live abroad with their fundamental rights being under effective state protection,” he said.


Medics: 200 Palestinians hurt in Al-Aqsa clashes with police

Medics: 200 Palestinians hurt in Al-Aqsa clashes with police
Updated 8 min 3 sec ago

Medics: 200 Palestinians hurt in Al-Aqsa clashes with police

Medics: 200 Palestinians hurt in Al-Aqsa clashes with police
  • Clashes erupted when Israeli police deployed heavily as Muslims were performing evening prayers at Al-Aqsa

JERUSALEM: A night of heavy clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound and elsewhere in Jerusalem left more than 200 Palestinians wounded, medics said Saturday, as the city braced for even more violence after weeks of unrest.
Nightly protests broke out at the start of the holy month of Ramadan over police restrictions at a popular gathering place and have reignited in recent days over threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinians from their homes in east Jerusalem, which is claimed by both sides in the decades-old conflict.
It was unclear what set off the violence at Al-Aqsa, which erupted when Israeli police in riot gear deployed in large numbers as thousands of Muslim worshippers were holding evening prayers at the sprawling hilltop esplanade.
Throughout the night large groups of protesters could be seen hurling rocks as Israeli police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades. At one point, the police entered one of the buildings in the complex, which includes the Al-Aqsa mosque and the iconic golden Dome of the Rock.
The Palestinian Red Crescent emergency service said 88 of the wounded were hospitalized. The Palestinian Health Ministry said 83 people were wounded by rubber-coated bullets, including three who were shot in the eye, two with serious head injuries and two with broken jaws.
The Israeli police said protesters hurled stones, fireworks and other objects at them, wounding six officers who required medical treatment. “We will respond with a heavy hand to all violent disturbances, riots and attacks on our forces,” it said in a statement late Friday.
The Al-Aqsa mosque compound is the third holiest site in Islam. It is also the holiest site for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount because it was the location of the biblical temples. It has long been a flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and was the epicenter of the 2000 Palestinian intifada, or uprising.
Some 70,000 worshippers had attended the final midday Friday prayers of Ramadan at Al-Aqsa, the Islamic endowment that oversees the site said. Thousands protested afterwards, waving the green flags of the Islamic militant group Hamas and chanting pro-Hamas slogans.
At the beginning of Ramadan in mid-April, Israel blocked off a popular gathering spot where Palestinians traditionally socialize at the end of their daylong fast. The move set off two weeks of clashes before Israel lifted the restrictions.
But in recent days, protests have grown over Israel's threatened eviction in Sheikh Jarrah in east Jerusalem of dozens of Palestinians embroiled in a long legal battle with Israeli settlers trying to acquire property in the neighborhood.
The United States said it was “deeply concerned” about both the violence and the threatened evictions, and was in contact with leaders on both sides to try and de-escalate tensions.
“It is critical to avoid steps that exacerbate tensions or take us farther away from peace,” the US State Department said in a statement. “This includes evictions in East Jerusalem, settlement activity, home demolitions, and acts of terrorism.”
The European Union also urged calm. It said the potential evictions were of “serious concern," adding that such actions are "illegal under international humanitarian law and only serve to fuel tensions on the ground.
Neighboring Jordan, which made peace with Israel in 1994 and is the custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, has also condemned Israel's actions, as has the Gulf kingdom of Bahrain, which normalized relations with Israel last year in a US-brokered deal.
Israelis and Palestinians are bracing for more unrest in the coming days.
Sunday night is “Laylat al-Qadr” or the “Night of Destiny,” the most sacred in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Worshippers will gather for intense nighttime prayers at Al-Aqsa.
Sunday night is also the start of Jerusalem Day, a national holiday in which Israel celebrates its annexation of east Jerusalem and religious nationalists hold parades and other celebrations in the city. On Monday, an Israeli court is expected to issue a verdict on the evictions.
Israel captured east Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and Gaza — territories the Palestinians want for their future state — in the 1967 Mideast war. Israel annexed east Jerusalem in a move not recognized internationally and views the entire city as its capital.


Unmanned aerial surveillance system targets Iraqi air base: US-led coalition

Unmanned aerial surveillance system targets Iraqi air base: US-led coalition
Updated 08 May 2021

Unmanned aerial surveillance system targets Iraqi air base: US-led coalition

Unmanned aerial surveillance system targets Iraqi air base: US-led coalition
  • The US accuses Iran-backed militia groups of launching regular rocket attacks against its troops in Iraq

BAGHDAD: An attack by an unmanned aerial surveillance system on Saturday targeted Iraq’s Ain Al-Asad air base in western Iraq which hosts US and other international forces, but it caused no injuries, a coalition spokesman said.
US Army Col. Wayne Marotto, spokesman for the US-led coalition, said on Twitter that the attack was being investigated but that an initial report suggests that the attack took place at 0220 local time and caused damage to a hangar.
The United States accuses Iran-backed militia groups of launching regular rocket attacks against its troops in Iraq. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Saturday’s attack.


Philippines, Egypt added to Oman’s travel ban list

Philippines, Egypt added to Oman’s travel ban list
Updated 08 May 2021

Philippines, Egypt added to Oman’s travel ban list

Philippines, Egypt added to Oman’s travel ban list
  • Omani citizens, diplomats, health workers and their families are excluded from the latest rule

DUBAI: The Philippines and Egypt were the latest inclusion in Oman’s list where travelers from the said countries are banned from entering the Sultanate.

The decision was issued by the Supreme Committee, which takes lead in the country’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic, and took effect on Friday, May 7.

Travelers from Egypt and the Philippines, and those who transited in any of the said countries during the 14 days, are particularly affected by the travel restriction a report from Times of Oman said.

Omani citizens, diplomats, health workers and their families are excluded from the latest rule but are subject to the procedures adopted upon entering the Sultanate, the report added.

Oman earlier added India, Pakistan and Bangladesh to the travel ban list, joining Sudan, Lebanon, South Africa, Brazil, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia and the United Kingdom where their residents have been barred from entering since February 24.


UAE reports 1,766 new COVID-19 cases, three deaths in last 24 hours

UAE reports 1,766 new COVID-19 cases, three deaths in last 24 hours
Updated 08 May 2021

UAE reports 1,766 new COVID-19 cases, three deaths in last 24 hours

UAE reports 1,766 new COVID-19 cases, three deaths in last 24 hours
  • The total number of recorded cases in the UAE is now at 532,710 since the pandemic began

DUBAI: UAE health authorities reported 1,766 new coronavirus cases after conducting 211,462 additional COVID-19 tests over the past 24 hours, as well three deaths fatalities from the contagious disease.

The total number of recorded cases in the UAE is now at 532,710 since the pandemic began, with 1,607 confirmed deaths, a report from state news agency WAM said.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention reiterated its call for residents to adhere coronavirus protocols and maintain social distancing to ensure public health and safety.

Meanwhile, 141,283 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been provided during the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of doses provided to residents and citizens to 11,048,547.

The rate of vaccine distribution now stands at 111.71 doses per 100 people.


US calls on Israelis, Palestinians to ‘deescalate’ tensions

US calls on Israelis, Palestinians to ‘deescalate’ tensions
Updated 08 May 2021

US calls on Israelis, Palestinians to ‘deescalate’ tensions

US calls on Israelis, Palestinians to ‘deescalate’ tensions
  • US State Department: Palestinian families targeted for eviction have "lived in their home for generations"

WASHINGTON: The United States called Friday for de-escalation in annexed east Jerusalem, and warned against carrying out a threatened eviction of Palestinian families that has sent tensions soaring.
“The United States is extremely concerned about ongoing confrontations in Jerusalem ... which have reportedly resulted in scores of injured people,” a statement from State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
“There is no excuse for violence, but such bloodshed is especially disturbing now, coming as it does on the last days of Ramadan.”
He said Washington was calling on Israeli and Palestinian officials to “act decisively to deescalate tensions and bring a halt to the violence.”
And he warned it was “critical” to avoid any steps that could worsen the situation — such as “evictions in East Jerusalem, settlement activity, home demolitions, and acts of terrorism.”
An earlier State Department statement said Washington was concerned in particular about the “potential eviction of Palestinian families in Silwan neighborhood and Sheikh Jarrah,” two areas of east Jerusalem where tensions have been running high.
It noted that some Palestinian families targeted for eviction have “lived in their home for generations.”
The comments came as more than 160 people were wounded after Israeli riot police clashed with Palestinians at Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound late Friday, capping a week of violence in the Holy City and the occupied West Bank.
Earlier Friday, Israeli security forces killed two Palestinians and wounded a third after the trio opened fire on a base in the occupied West Bank, police said.
The unrest came on Al-Quds Day – named for the Arabic word for Jerusalem – an annual day of pro-Palestinian rallies held by Iran, the arch-enemy of Israel.
The nation’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called Israel “not a country, but a terrorist base,” and in a televised speech said that fighting the Jewish state was “everyone’s duty.”