The number of people who migrated from Turkey to other countries increased by 27.7 percent in 2018 when compared to 2017, with a total of 323,918 people leaving the country last year, according to a report released by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat).
The report, titled “International Migration Statistics,” showed that 53.3 percent of the migrants were men while 46.7 percent were women and that 136,740 were Turkish citizens while 187,178 were foreign nationals.
In terms of age distribution, the biggest group of migrants were aged between 16 and 29, followed by the 13-24 age group and then those aged between 30 and 34 years.
Thousands of people have left Turkey, some illegally, since a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016 following which the Turkish government launched a massive crackdown on non-loyalist citizens under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.
The number of people who migrated to Turkey in 2018 also increased by 23.8 percent over the previous year, according to the TurkStat report, with 577,457 people migrating to the country last year.
Iraqis were the largest group of people who migrated to Turkey in 2018 at 23.6 percent, followed by Afghans at 9.6 percent, Syrians at 8.4 percent , Turkmens at 7.5 percent and Iranians at 6.8 percent.
Many people from Middle Eastern countries who flee from war and persecution use Turkey as a transit route to make their way to Europe in the hope of establishing a new life.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s most heavily populated city of İstanbul remains the most popular destination for migrants, with 201,957 migrants settling there in 2018, followed by Ankara with 71,337, then Antalya, which attracted 36,674 migrants.