NewsSource : http://vestnikkavkaza.net/news/society/17814.html
Illegal Armenian migrants prefer Turkey
Armenia and Turkey signed protocols on normalization of relations two years ago. Thousands of Armenians plan visits to Turkey to find a job, despite complicated relations between the two states.
The official unemployment level in Armenia is 6.6%, in Turkey – 9.4%. Unofficial information says Armenia has over 10% of the population unemployed. The Armenian economy has not recovered from the recession in 2008, and its growth rate was only 2.6% in 2010, compared with Turkey – 8.9% (the highest rate in Europe).
Despite tensions between Armenia and Turkey, caused by “genocide” of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during WWI and Turkey’s support of Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, many Armenians still plan to enter Turkey. Istanbul has an Armenian community called Kumkapi.
International agencies are expected to be organized to study migration streams from Armenia. Turkey says that there were about 22,000 illegal migrants from Armenia in 2010. Editor-in-Chief of Agos paper, Aris Nalci, says that they are about to reach 25,000.
The Eurasian Partnership Foundation organized research in 2009 and said that most illegal migrants out of 150 questioned arrived in Istanbul from the Shirak District in north-western Armenia, where high unemployment has been a problem since the earthquake in 1988. 90% of people questioned were women doing housework.
9 men questioned said they were unemployed and came to Turkey to protect themselves. They used 30-day visas worth $15.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to force all illegal Armenian migrants from the country last year. He said that their number is reaching 100,000. But Turkey’s positions is softening, children of illegal migrants will be allowed to study at Armenian-language schools in Istanbul.
Marianna Grigoryan and Anait Ayrapetyan (EurasiaNet, USA)
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