8 percent of Turkish millionaires emigrated in 2019: report

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Eight percent of Turkey’s millionaires moved out of the country in 2019, local media reported on Tuesday, citing the latest figures released by the AfrAsia Bank and New World Wealth, an intelligence firm tracking the spending habits of the world’s wealthy.

A total of 23,000 entrepreneurs and businesspeople in Turkey, including 10,000 millionaires, which are defined by the organization as “individuals with wealth of $1 million or more,” have joined the ever-growing number of people who seek a better future abroad within the past three years, the reports said.

According to the Global Wealth Migration Review 2020, some 2,100 millionaires left the country in 2019, in addition to the 4,000 who had emigrated in 2018, making Turkey the fifth country after China, India, Russian Federation and Hong Kong, respectively, that experienced the biggest wealth outflows in 2019.

“This [2019] is the 4th straight year that a large number of HNWIs [millionaires] have left the country. These outflows are concerning, as Turkey is not producing many new HNWIs to replace the ones that are leaving. As a result, the total number of HNWIs living in the country is declining all the time. A decade ago, Turkey was the wealthiest country in the Middle East, but it now ranks 4th in the region behind the UAE, Israel and Saudi Arabia,” the report said.

According to local media reports, Portugal stands out among the countries where millionaires leaving Turkey have emigrated, with 8,288 people having received residence permits between October 2012 and January 2020.

By way of the Golden Visa program, which allows non-EU citizens to get a residence permit for a family including dependent children through an investment of €500,000, or a €350,000 reduced option, in real estate in Portugal, some 385 Turks obtained residence permits in the country, local media reports also said.

Two hundred eleven Turkish citizens also each invested 2 million pounds to secure the immediate right to live in the UK for three years, followed by a two-year extension, also part of the Golden Visa program, between 2008 and 2020, local media also reported, citing data from the Spotlight on Corruption, a London-based anti-corruption charity.

According to the latest studies and analyses, the rise of authoritarianism, religious nationalism, fear of political persecution, financial difficulties due to a deteriorating economy, which has led to the Turkish currency plunging, and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s strict control over the judiciary and media in addition to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s crackdown on his critics, including those in business, are among the reasons why Turkey’s millionaires are fleeing the country.

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