Number of Armenians illegally working in Turkey only 12,000

Istanbul, 2008 (c) Artur Papyan for

The number of Armenians illegally working in Turkey might actually be several times smaller than claimed by the Turkish authorities. There are between 12,000 and 13,000 Armenian citizens working illegally in Turkey, according to the study by the Eurasia Partnership Foundation, which will be made available to the public next month.

Researcher Alin Ozinian, a Turkish Armenian, interviewed Armenians living in Turkey for the study.
Researcher Alin Ozinian, a Turkish Armenian, interviewed Armenians living in Turkey for the study.

This study is very important, because up until now the Turkish authorities have been claiming there are from 70,000–100,000 Armenians illegally working in Turkey, and using it as a bargaining chip in their bi-lateral relations with Armenia, hinting they might send those illegal migrants back home if Armenia continues to encourage Armenian-Diaspora efforts for international recognition of the Armenian Genocide and doesn’t make concessions in the Karabakh conflict.

Head researcher Alin Ozinian, an İstanbul native of Armenian descent, worked for two years on the project, which culminated in a 150-page report to be released in Istanbul next month. I personally know Alin Ozinian and am sure, that the study is accurate and thoroughly done.

According to the study, 94% of the Armenians working in Turkey are women, with very few Armenian men accompanying their spouses to Turkey or working here. Armenian women tend to work as childcare and homecare providers, and cleaning and sales staff. Most of the Armenian men who accompany their wives here choose not to work at all, while those who do tend to work in the jewelry business.

Meanwhile, here’s a video about immigrants from former Soviet Union working in Istanbul’s flee markets.


4 thoughts on “Number of Armenians illegally working in Turkey only 12,000

  1. It does not matter whether there are 70,000 to 100,000 or 12,000 to 13,000 Armenians illegally working in Turkey. The fact that there are up to 13,000 is shocking and depressing to me. Do people realize what the word “illegal” means? They are lucky that the Turkish authorities have not put them in prison.

    The study found that “those migrating from Armenia prefer to work and live with Turks in İstanbul, as opposed to Armenians who are natives of the city. Immigrant Armenians say the “moral values” of Turks and Armenians are very close.” Then, there is this quote: “Most of the Armenian men who accompany their wives here choose not to work at all….”. Hmmm, interesting. If most of the Armenian men are not working and most likely the children may not be working, then, the number of Armenians living in Turkey illegally could be much higher than 13,000 because the study reports only those “working” illegally in Turkey.

    May be Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s count is a lot higher than the study because he is counting Armenians that are illegally living in Turkey and Armenians that are trafficked into Turkey for reasons other than “childcare and homecare providers, and cleaning and sales staff”. Did Alin Ozinian look into this? Only yesterday I was reading the following about Armenia in the CIA World Factbook:

    “Trafficking in persons:”

    “current situation: Armenia is primarily a source country for women and girls trafficked to the UAE and Turkey for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation; Armenian men and women are trafficked to Turkey and Russia for the purpose of forced labor tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Armenia is placed on the Tier 2 Watch List for a fourth consecutive year; its efforts to increase compliance with the minimum standards were assessed based on its commitments to undertake future actions, particularly in the areas of improving victim protection and assistance; while the government elevated anti-trafficking responsibilities to the ministerial level, adopted a new National Action Plan, and drafted a National Referral Mechanism, it has yet to show tangible progress in identifying and protecting victims or in tackling trafficking complicity of government officials; the Armenian Government made some notable improvements in its anti-trafficking law enforcement efforts, but it failed to demonstrate evidence of investigations, prosecutions, convictions, and sentences of officials complicit in trafficking (2008)”.

  2. Pingback: “Armenian Numbers” Damage Turkish PM’s Memory and Math Skills « The Armenian Observer Blog

Comments are closed.