The European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) on Tuesday released its statistics for the first half of 2023, which show the continuation of the downward trend in the rate of approval in cases of Turkish nationals seeking asylum in the EU.
“Some recognition rates have undergone significant changes, these include Turkish applicants who, for four years, have steadily been granted protection less often (down to 28 percent from 54 percent in 2019),” the agency said in its report.
Turkish citizens filed a total of 34,025 asylum applications, which corresponds to 7 percent of the total. In terms of citizenship groups, Turks ranked fourth, after Syrians, Afghans and Venezuelans.
The number of asylum applications received by the EU from Turkey spiked following a failed military coup in July 2016 to which the Turkish government responded with a number of disproportionate measures that curtailed freedoms and dismantled judicial independence.
Consequently, a significant portion of Turks seeking asylum in Europe after 2016 were real or perceived followers of the faith-based Gülen movement, which the Turkish government accuses of being the culprit behind the abortive putsch. The movement denies any involvement.
The authorities have been carrying out an incessant mass detention campaign against alleged members of the group that has been condemned by a UN expert opinion as possibly amounting to crimes against humanity.
Due to the massive cancellation of passports, many members of the group fled Turkey illegally.
In the 2022 edition of the Rule of Law Index published by the World Justice Project, Turkey ranked 116th among 140 countries, with a score even worse than Russia and Belarus.