Record number of Turkish citizens seeking asylum in the Netherlands

According to the Netherlands Statistical Institute, asylum applications by Turkish citizens in the Netherlands have reached an all-time high. The country’s applications are only eclipsed by Syria and Afghanistan.

Duvar English

Last year, 2,460 Turkish citizens sought asylum in the Netherlands, according to the country’s statistical institute. This makes Turkey the country with the third highest number of applications, eclipsed only by Afghanistan and Syria.

According to reporting by BBC Turkish from The Hague, there has been an enormous increase in the number of refugees seeking asylum in the Netherlands since the beginning of the refugee crisis in 2015. In 2021, with the combined effects of the coronavirus pandemic, this number reached an all-time high of over 25,000.

The country with the highest number of asylum applications was Syria, where there is an ongoing civil war; 8,380 asylum applications were made by Syrian citizens. This was followed by Afghanistan, where a civil war resulted in government takeover by the Taliban. 3,500 Afghan citizens applied for asylum in the Netherlands last year, many of them after the Taliban takeover. 

Next came Turkey with nearly 2,500 asylum applications, an all-time high. According to the Institute, the number of applications has rapidly increased since the coup attempt of 2016 and the subsequent crackdown by the Justice and Development (AKP)-led government against dissidents. The type of person applying has expanded in recent years as the government's definition of “dissident” and “terrorist” have also expanded. 

Those applying now are largely Kurdish people, dissidents, opposition figures, writers, journalists, human rights defenders, and trade unionists.

Eritrea, Iran, and Algeria are also among the countries from which the most asylum seekers applied to the Netherlands. The number of asylum seekers corresponds closely with negative social developments and crackdowns on human rights. The number of asylum seekers from Eritrea, for example, skyrocketed after the outbreak of conflict in the Tigray. 

According to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are currently 82 million displaced people around the world and that number is only increasing. Most of those refugees originated from Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and Myanmar, and most of them reside in neighboring countries.