A total of 739,364 people moved to Turkey in 2021 with the intention of setting there permanently, an increase of 116.9 percent over the previous year, according to the international migration statistics announced by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) on Thursday.
They included 615,095 foreign nationals and 124,269 Turkish citizens who returned home after living abroad or were not registered at their addresses the previous year. While 51.9 percent of this group were males, 48.1 percent were females.
Among the foreign nationals, Iraqis ranked first with 12.1 percent in 2021, followed by Iranians (10.9 percent), Uzbeks (6.5 percent), Syrians (6 percent) and Afghans (5.5 percent).
“In 2021, it was seen that 12.3 percent … was in the 20-24 age group. This age group was followed by the 25-29 age group with 12.1 percent and the 30-34 age group with 10.7 percent, respectively,” the TurkStat added.
The data found that İstanbul was the most preferred destination with 47.8 percent of the people staying in the metropolis. Antalya was the destination of 8.2 percent of the new arrivals, followed by the capital Ankara, Bursa and Mersin with 6.7, 2.7 and 2.4 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, in the same period 287,651 people left Turkey for foreign countries, a decrease of 31.6 percent compared to 2020. They comprised 55.7 percent males and 44.3 percent females, according to the data.
TurkStat data further showed that Iraqis topped this list with 21.8 percent, followed by Afghans (6.7 percent), Iranians (5.6 percent), Syrians (5.2 percent) and Turkmens (4.9 percent).
The institute found that 35.2 percent of the people emigrated from İstanbul, 11.9 percent from Ankara and 6.2 percent from Antalya.
According to the latest United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) population statistics, Turkey was home to 3.6 million Syrians under temporary protection and 318,000 refugees and asylum-seekers under international protection as of mid-2022.
The real number of refugees in Turkey is estimated to be much higher, Turkish media reports say.