Nearly half of Turks want to live or study abroad, survey reveals

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A total of 47.3 percent of Turks, including 34.3 percent of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) voters and 43 percent of supporters of its ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), stated that they want to either live or study abroad, according to a survey conducted by the Ankara-based MetroPoll.

The results of the section titled “Living Abroad” in the “Pulse of Turkey” survey, conducted in January, were shared on Twitter by Özer Sencar, the owner and president of MetroPoll, on Wednesday.

According to the survey, in response to a question asking “Would you like to live or study abroad?,” 47.3 percent of respondents said “Yes,” while 45.9 percent answered “No.” The remaining 6.8 percent of respondents had no opinion.

The people who want to live or study abroad included 66.2 percent of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) voters, 57.6 percent of  main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) supporters and 57.5 of voters of the nationalist opposition İYİ (Good) Party.

People who don’t want to live or study abroad included 58.4 percent of ruling AKP voters and 50.3 percent of supporters of its ally, the MHP. They also included 39.6 percent of İYİ supporters, 37.2 percent of CHP voters and 26.8 percent of HDP voters.

As for the supporters of the Islamist opposition Felicity Party (SP), half of them said they wanted to study or live abroad, while the other half said they didn’t want to, the survey showed.

“What do you think it means that nearly half of our people want to study and live abroad? I really wonder,” Sencar questioned in a tweet on Wednesday.

When the respondents were asked which country they would like themselves or their children to study in, 51.8 percent of them answered Western countries such as Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, while only 5.1 percent responded “Russia” or “China.”

“The data show us that our people clearly see their future in the West. There is no need to mention the Middle East. I bring this to the attention of our politicians,” Sencar said.

The results further showed that 22.6 percent of Turks want to live or study in Germany, 16.6 percent want to live or study in the UK and those who want to live or study in the US total 12.6 percent, while those who want to live or study in Russia and China are 3.8 and 1.3 percent, respectively.

A similar survey conducted by the Social Democracy Foundation (SODEV) last year showed that 62.5 percent of young people between the ages of 15 and 25, including 47.5 percent of supporters of the ruling AKP, said they preferred to live abroad, a sign which, experts think, shows they have lost their faith in the country’s future.

According to the same survey, 70.3 percent of respondents believe that “a brilliant young Turk” would never be promoted professionally in Turkey if he or she did not have any political and/or bureaucratic “connections.”

A total of 330,289 people left the country in 2019, according to official data from the state-run Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat), with 40.8 percent of them between the ages of 20 and 34.

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