Turkish minister downplays brain drain, says 'youth getting to know the world'

Amid an increasing young brain drain, Turkish Labor and Social Security Minister Vedat Bilgin said that the youth have not been “fleeing” Turkey, but rather “leaving the country to get to know the world.”

People are seen walking on Istanbul's famous İstiklal Avenue in this file photo.

Duvar English

Labor and Social Security Minister Vedat Bilgin said on Oct. 14 that Turkey's well-educated and qualified young people have not been “fleeing” the country, but rather going abroad “to get to know the world.”

“Our biggest security with respect to the future is our young people. There are currently 30,000 young people from Turkey who are doing their Ph.D. abroad. If you go to the world's best universities and come across a Turkish youth, there is no point in worrying about this. Those who come back [to Turkey] are higher in numbers than those who stayed there [abroad],” said Bilgin.

The minister made the remarks during a forum organized by the Turkish Confederation of Employers' Associations (TİSK) to bring together representatives of the public sector, employees and employers.

“The enthusiasm to go abroad is more prevalent among the youth [than others]. It is natural for this desire to exist in the youth. We should not see this as 'They [the youth] are fleeing Turkey.' The youth want to get to know the world. They have the knowledge and equipment to get to know the world,” he said.

As the Turkish government cracks down on dissent, coupled with a deteriorating economy, more and more young people are seeking new lives abroad.

Polls conducted in recent years indicate the Turkish youth are increasingly unhappy to live in the country, saying that they have lost hope in the future of their country.

In recent years, Turkey has been witnessing an increase in its number of emigrants, with migration becoming an exit strategy for the youth from everyday struggles.