Armenian Migration To Turkey ‘Inflated By Ankara’


Taksim square in Istanbul.

ISTANBUL (RFE/RL)–Armenia’s State Migration Agency claimed on Friday that the Turkish government has been grossly inflating the number of Armenian nationals living and working in Turkey.

Turkish leaders have for years spoken of between 50,000 and 70,000 illegal migrants from Armenia. They have used the figures to attack Yerevan in the international arena and emphasize Turkey’s importance for Armenia’s economic development.

But Gagik Yeganian, head of the State Migration Agency, said the real figure is at least ten times lower. “If there were that many workers, then there would have been a corresponding negative [migration] balance,” he told a news conference. “We can speak about roughly 5,200 migrants that are citizens of Armenia and work in Turkey.”

To substantiate his claim, Yeganian cited government data on individual travel between the two neighboring states lacking an open border and diplomatic relations. It shows that some 293,000 Armenians traveled to Turkey and that 288,000 of them returned home in the past eight years. It indicates a virtually zero net outflow of migrants in 2008.

According to Yeganian, travel between the two countries has quadrupled since 2000 and does not seem to have been seriously affected by this year’s economic crisis. The official was confident that it will not jump further if the Turkish-Armenian border is reopened, dismissing concerns about a possible influx of Turks into Armenia.

“If the border is opened, that won’t mean that they come here in the millions,” said Yeganian. “They can here now if they want to. Nothing prevents them from doing that.”


Related posts

Discussion Policy

Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Though you are fully responsible for the content you post, comments that include profanity, personal attacks or other inappropriate material will not be permitted. Asbarez reserves the right to block users who violate any of our posting standards and policies.


  1. Haro said:

    This one is easy…
    Yeganian is assuming that migration from A to T is always in straight lines. It could be from A to G, and then from G to T. Or from A to I, and then I to T. Or even from A ot U, and then from U to T.

  2. Dino Ajemian said:

    There are lies, damn lies and barbarian statistics. The government of turkey has always played with Armenian population counts throughout its history by pencil erasers and by the sword. The historical proof is available.  Turkish occupied Armenia is half empty. They have moved to western Anatolia. We should encourage the rest to leave also. Eastern turkey IS Western Armenia. It’s ours, it will always be ours and we will take it back by hook or by crook, by any means possible, and of course the ends justifies the means.

  3. areg mansuryan said:

    If our current leadership in Armenia were not crooks, we did not need to have any migrants looking for jobs elsewhere.
    Mr. Serj Sargsyan is it that hard to manage a small country of 3 million population? The Armenians are fed up of your corrupt pitiful so called government.

  4. Peter Parker said:

    While I do believe that less corruption is always better, I think the whole “Serj be gone and everything will be fixed” speeches have just about been beaten to death, please give it a rest. Don’t be so arrogant as to assume that if the major political or governmental bodies today were composed of ARF or AGBU, Hunchaks, or Ramkavars, etc., etc., that things would adversely change for the better overnight. Corruption exists in all circles, including the aforementioned groups, no organization is perfect.
    With that said, a more pertinent question to ask is, once a “just government” is in place, what’s next? Somehow I find it hard to believe that all of you Starbucks latte drinking, France flinging, Argentinian mingling, Cali-NewYork working “Hyes” would embrace your homeland and head on over to support our Armenia. There is also a lot of degeneracy to be fixed “on the ground”, it’s not just at the top, the new crop of “jahel Hyes” aren’t exactly the most culturally attune demographic. I think we need to first evaluate ourselves in the mirror and see what needs fixing there as far as being “Hye” goes before always saying “If only Serj wasn’t there” . . .

  5. Barkev Asadourian said:

    from the beginig of ottoman empire when established based on lies up to date
    the turkey follow the same politics even  our present rulers lieying
    same way as done with the dangers protocols against
    ARMENIAN PEOPLE shame for all.

  6. Vacheh said:

    In seconding Areg Mansuryan, my dear fellow Armenians please watch the video clip below by Dr. Armen Ayvazian to find out the true intentions of what is going on.ցեղասպանությունը-ժխտող-էրդողանը-սպի/
    If you walk in the streets of Yerevan, you will see hundreds and hundreds of young men ages 18-30 who are standing at a corner or sitting on a bench in a park and wasting the most precious times of their lives by doing nothing. I don’t know how many of such young people travel to Turkey to find black jobs, but the incompetence of the government in Armenia speaks loudly in the form of large number of unemployed young people with virtually little hope for future. These young men have no chance to continue their education or to find any job to cover their pocket expenses. The reflection of such situation comes heavily on the society, on the future generations, and on the severe slow down of the progress in our homeland.

  7. Haygaz Bedrossian said:

    The figures are not important, 5000 or 50000, the important is why it happens. There is one reason only. Armenia is in the top level of corrupted countries. If one of the ruling party’s leader, Gagig  Tzarukian  one of those overnight millionaires sent US$25,000,000 out of Armenia to invest in another country, and no one, even president or any of those parties who call themselves oppositions can’t asks, why, why don’t you invest that money in our country. How you can blame to ordinary people, if they go out from country to find a job, even in Turkey.