There was a 31 percent increase over the previous month in the number of asylum applications filed by Turkish citizens in EU countries in June, with Turks being the fifth largest group of persons seeking asylum, according to data from Eurostat, the Kronos news website reported on Tuesday.
According to “Asylum applications – monthly statistics” released on Monday, there were 65,645 first-time asylum seekers, the majority of them men between the ages of 18 and 34, applying for international protection in EU Member States in June.
The figure, which corresponds to 147 first-time asylum applicants per million population in total in the EU as a whole, increased by 66 percent over June of last year and by 4 percent compared to May 2022.
When compared to the population of each Member State at the beginning of this year, the highest rate of registered first-time applicants in June was recorded in Cyprus, followed by Austria and Slovenia, with the lowest rates observed in Slovakia and Hungary.
Syrians were the largest group of persons seeking asylum in June, followed by Afghans, Venezuelans, Colombians and Turks.
The number of Turks seeking asylum in EU countries increased by 850 between May and June 2022, reaching 3,625, the report said, which corresponds to 31 percent.
The five EU Member States that received the highest number of first-time asylum applicants were Germany (12,315), France (11,095), Spain (10,595), Austria (9,060) and Italy (5,690), altogether accounting for 74 percent of all first-time applicants in the EU, according to the report.
Eurostat data also showed that the number of unaccompanied minors who applied for asylum in the Member States increased by 63 percent between June 2021 and June 2022 to 2,905, with the most unaccompanied minors coming from Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia and Pakistan in June.
An unaccompanied minor is a person who is less than 18 years old who arrives on the territory of an EU Member State not accompanied by an adult responsible for the minor or a minor who is left unaccompanied after having entered the territory of a Member State.
Eurostat data previously showed that asylum applications from Turkey spiked in 2016 when 9,675 Turkish citizens sought asylum in the EU, compared to 3.925 in 2015, and peaked in 2019 with 23,420 applications.
Thousands of people had to flee Turkey in the aftermath of a coup attempt in July 2016, following which Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) launched a widespread crackdown on non-loyalist citizens under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. These people, some of whom had to flee the country illegally by way of the Aegean Sea or Evros River land border because their passports had been canceled under state of emergency measures taken by the government, applied for asylum in Europe and other countries.