Afghans in Turkey

Turkish Afghans are citizens of Turkey and non-citizen residents born in or with ancestors from Afghanistan. This group is part of the larger Afghan diaspora around the world. According to latest reports, there are around 129,323 Afghan refugees and asylum seekers in Turkey.[1][2] The government of Turkey claims that the total Afghan population in its country is around 300,000.[3][4] At the same time others have mentioned a total of 420,000.[5] This number likely includes citizens, legal residents, visitors, and the aforementioned refugees and asylum seekers.[6][7][8][9] The reason for the different numbers is that there is no proper way to count undocumented foreign nationals in a country. Another reason may be that these countries are simply making up numbers for their own political purposes.

Turkish Afghans
Total population
129,323 (2021)[1][2]
Dari · Pashto · Uzbek · Turkish

The ones who are refugees or asylum seekers are protected from forceful deportation by the well-established non-refoulement principle and the U.N. Convention Against Torture.[10] Like many other migrants, the Afghans often use Turkey as a place of temporary residence to meet overseas family members, relatives and friends. Many others are en route to the European Union (EU) for the purpose of applying for asylum in countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom.[11] Some wealthy ones stay in Turkey on a temporary basis to be smuggled by airlines to as far away as North America. Meanwhile, those found in violation of law are often sent back to Afghanistan.[2][12]


Afghan soldiers were sent by King Amanhullah to help fight against the invading armies and assist Ataturk's fight for freedom. Afghan migration to Turkey dates back to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, when large amounts of Afghans came into Turkey. However, no proper records were kept during the period and due to the obscure state of irregular migration to Turkey, maintaining accurate statistics of Afghan migration has been difficult. In 2002, an article by the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet claimed there were "thousands" of Afghans living throughout the country.[citation needed]

Recent migrationEdit

Afghans are one of the largest irregular migrant groups in Turkey. From the period 2003–2007, the number of Afghans apprehended were significant, with statistics almost doubling during the last year. Most had fled the War in Afghanistan. In 2005, refugees from Afghanistan numbered 300 and made a sizeable proportion of Turkey's registered migrants.[13] Most of them were spread out over satellite cities with Van and Ağrı being the most specific locations.[14] In the following years, the number of Afghans entering Turkey greatly increased, second only to migrants from Iraq; in 2009, there were 16,000 people designated under the Iraq-Afghanistan category. Despite a dramatic 50 percent reduction by 2010, reports confirmed hundreds living and working in Turkey.[15] As of January 2010, Afghans consisted one-sixth of the 26,000 remaining refugees and asylum seekers.[16] By mid-2021, their total number surged up to 200,000.[4][1][2] The President of Turkey stated in August 2021 that there were a total of 300,000 Afghans in Turkey.[3] At the same time France 24 inflated that number to 420,000.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "The Afghan refugee crisis brewing on Turkey's eastern border". The New Humanitarian. August 3, 2021. Retrieved 2021-08-10.
  2. ^ a b c d Onward Movements of Afghan Refugees (PDF), UNHCR, March–April 2021, retrieved 2021-08-10
  3. ^ a b "Turkey says hosting 300,000 Afghan refugees, ready for talks with Taliban". TRT World. August 20, 2021. Retrieved 2021-08-27.
  4. ^ a b "Afghans fleeing the Taliban sparks renewed anti-migrant sentiment in Turkey". The National (Abu Dhabi). July 28, 2021. Retrieved 2021-08-10.
  5. ^ a b "'Complete stop': New Turkish wall confronts fleeing Afghans". France 24. August 18, 2021. Retrieved 2021-08-27. Official data shows 120,000 Afghan refugees in Turkey, and up to 300,000 undocumented Afghan migrants.
  6. ^ "Turkey Faces Dilemma as Afghan Refugees Start Arriving". Voice of America. July 29, 2021. Retrieved 2021-08-10.
  7. ^ "Afghan refugees are reaching Turkey in greater numbers". The Economist. July 31, 2021. Retrieved 2021-08-10. Many would like to get to Greece
  8. ^ "As Taliban Advance, Thousands of Afghans Seek Refuge in Turkey". The Wall Street Journal. July 26, 2021. Retrieved 2021-08-10. Migrants from Afghanistan are making arduous journeys through Iran to reach Turkey, which already hosts millions of Syrian refugees
  9. ^ "'Hundreds' of Afghans flee to Turkey every day in wake of Taliban takeover". France 24. July 16, 2021. Retrieved 2021-08-10.
  10. ^ "Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment". Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Retrieved 2021-08-10. Article 3 ... No State Party shall expel, return ("refouler") or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.
  11. ^ Destination Unknown: Afghans on the move in Turkey, ReliefWeb, June 23, 2020, retrieved 2021-08-10
  12. ^ Mass Deportations of Afghans from Turkey: Thousands of migrants sent back in a deportation drive, ReliefWeb, June 21, 2018, retrieved 2021-08-10
  13. ^ UNHCR Ankara Office
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-06-01. Retrieved 2010-02-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Number of Iraqi, Afghan refugees in Turkey halved last year". Archived from the original on 14 September 2012.
  16. ^ "Turkey".

Further readingEdit