Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The number of Armenian citizens visiting Turkey

The number of Armenian citizens visiting Turkey has increased over the years. It has grown from about 5000 in the mid 1990s to about 70000 in recent years. But notwithstanding this dramatic growth, the number of visits pales in comparison to the pattern observed for visitors from countries in the region.

Arrivals in Turkey

For the years 1996 through 2012, the number of Armenians arriving in Turkey generally surpassed the number departing; exceptions are 2001, and 2006-2009. The cumulative number of arrivals, net of departures, a proxy for those who may have stayed behind during this period, is about 15000. To the extent that this figure does not include those who may have arrived between 1992 and 1995, 15000 may be an underestimate of how many Armenian citizens live in Turkey today. On the other hand, it may overstate the actual figure to the extent that it does not control for the possible illegal crossings into Europe; some 55,000 would-be immigrants from various nationalities illegally crossed into Greece from Turkey in 2011 (The Economist).

Arrivals in and Departures from Turkey

A glance at the figures reveals a pattern of travel to Turkey that is unique to those from Armenia. In particular, one cannot help but notice the precipitous decline in 2001 that may have begun in 2000. This pattern can be explained by the reaction of the government of Turkey to the Armenian Genocide affirmation efforts in the US in late 2000, and the official recognition in France in 2001. Unable to lash out at the US and France, it tightened visa requirements on the citizens of Armenia. In effect, it lashed out at the weakest and poorest members of the Armenian society, the desperate migrant workers and those engaged in suitcase trade.

Arrivals in Turkey by Air and Land

The reasons for traveling to Turkey have evolved over the years, and more and more of Armenia's citizens are vacationing in Turkey and touring its historic sites. In recent years, and per Turkstat, some 8000 flew to the resort town of Antalya in Turkey.

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