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EU records highest monthly number of asylum applications from Turks since 2014

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Turkish citizens lodged a total of 4,600 asylum applications in the EU+ in August, the highest monthly number since 2014, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported on Wednesday, citing an analysis released by the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA).

Asylum applications in the EU+, comprising the 27 EU member countries plus Norway and Switzerland, reached 84,500 in August, a new high since the refugee crisis of the  2015/2016 period, according to EUAA data, which also showed that Turks were the third largest applicant group, behind only Afghans (some 12,100) and Syrians (11,900).

Some month-to-month fluctuations notwithstanding, Turkish applications have exhibited an upward trend since the beginning of 2022, the agency said, with 94 percent of Turkish applicants who sought asylum in the EU+ in August, including 1 percent of self-claimed unaccompanied minors, having done so for the first time.

The recognition rate for Turkish applicants has been in decline since the beginning of the year and, in August, dropped further to 36 percent, the lowest in more than two years, the data showed. However, Turks continued to receive almost exclusively refugee status: the share of positive decisions that granted refugee status (95 percent in August) was one of the highest among all citizenships, according to the EUAA analysis.

The increasing number of asylum applications lodged by Turks in Germany has drawn attention as well, DW said, adding that the figure for the January-October period of 2022 was 15,957, up by 175.7 percent compared to the same period last year, according to the data of the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).

Since the beginning of the year, EU+ countries have received about 564,000 asylum applications, up by 62 percent compared to the same period in 2021, with some 255,000 registrations for temporary protection, almost exclusively of Ukrainian citizens, in August.

Altogether, asylum applications and registrations for temporary protection so far in 2022 have surpassed 5 million, the EUAA data showed.

The agency further said applications by self-claimed unaccompanied minors jumped to almost 4,700 in August, up by 28 percent from July and reaching a new high since 2015.

Thousands of people had to flee Turkey in the aftermath of a coup attempt in July 2016, following which Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) launched a widespread crackdown on non-loyalist citizens under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. These people, some of whom had to flee the country illegally by way of the Aegean Sea or Evros River land border because their passports had been canceled under the state of emergency measures taken by the government, applied for asylum in Europe and other countries.

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