Wealthy Iranians are increasingly seeking refuge in Turkey in order to escape from the repression in the Islamic Republic, the Times reported, adding that the country’s sanctions-hit economy is a factor in their decision to leave.
According to the article, some 30,000 Iranians fled to neighboring Turkey, which is one of the few countries they can travel to without a visa, last year.
The majority of the expatriates are educated, secular entrepreneurs who see the country as an ideal location for their investments and a place to escape their own country’s Islamic laws, the daily said.
“It’s much easier here,” Maryam Seda, who moved to Turkey three years ago told the Times.
“In Iran it’s impossible at the moment. The economy is so bad and the protests make me very fearful. I haven’t heard from my mother for days,” she added.
Iranians with money are benefiting from a Turkish government practice that grants citizenship to anyone who invests £200,000 in property, the article said, adding that Iranians bought 3,000 homes in Turkey in the first eight months of this year, almost double the number of 2018.
“All of them are looking for a plan B,” Ali Güden, a Turkish lawyer whose clientele includes ever more wealthy Iranians, said.
“Their country isn’t stable. They feel free in Turkey. Here they can drink; they can wear what they want.”
According to Ali Vaez, head of the Iran project at the International Crisis Group, many factors push Iranian youth out of the country.
“Intolerance to any kind of dissent, no opportunities for a brighter future and the inability [of the state] to reform itself has created a state of despondency,’’ Vaez told the Times.
“The government prefers to blame Iran’s foreign enemies instead of acknowledging people’s demands,” he added.