Turkey - Baseline Assessment in Istanbul Province - Analysis Report (May-July 2019)

DTM Turkey, dtmturkey@iom.int
Period Covered
May 01 2019 -
Jul 31 2019
  • Survey
  • Migration Flows
  • Migrants presence
  • Baseline Assessment


  • Across the 39 sub-provinces of İstanbul covered by this study, Baseline 2 data suggested a presence of 1,660,395 migrants, while Baseline 1 data pointed to a total of 1,020,358. The findings below discuss the reasons for the discrepancy of 640,037 individuals found between the two datasets at the province level.
  • This round of Baseline 2 found that Syrian, Afghan, Uzbek, Turkmen and Pakistani foreign nationals constitute the largest—“top five,” nationality groups in İstanbul province.
  • Compared to the December 2018 Baseline 2 findings, there are now 249,760 more migrants in İstanbul. Reportedly, according to key informants and field observations, the most dramatic increase was among Uzbek and Pakistani nationals; nevertheless, the increase has been recorded across all nationalities.
  • Baseline 2 findings suggest the presence of 127,163 Afghans in İstanbul province, as the mass arrival of Afghans, which started in 2018, continues. As such, Afghan presence has increased in all sub-provinces of İstanbul.
  • There is also a considerable rise in the number of Pakistani foreign nationals. Often, Pakistani migrants in İstanbul are young males who enter the country as irregular migrants.
  • Due to a considerable increase in their numbers, Uzbek foreign nationals now constitute the third largest migrant group in İstanbul. Visa exemption in Turkey facilitates their entry into the country. However, another reason for the increase is the recent lifting of the Uzbek national travel restrictions on women aged 18–35 years. As such, there has been a significant increase in the number of Uzbek women coming to Turkey. Nevertheless, the majority of Uzbek foreign nationals coming to Turkey are still young males between 20 and 30 y.o..
  • Baseline 2 findings suggest that 963,536 Syrians are present in İstanbul province, while Baseline 1 recorded a total of 601,320. Mukhtars, SASFs and SSCs noted that Syrians registered in other provinces (e.g. Gaziantep, Hatay, Şanlıurfa, Mardin and Tekirdağ) continue to come to İstanbul province.
  • According to interviews with key informants, the number of job opportunities continues to be the main reason attracting foreign nationals to İstanbul.
  • Foreign nationals tend to move to İstanbul because it is home to the largest foreign nationals population in Turkey, with a wide network of aid organizations and activities that provide assistance to those in need.
  • The presence of already established migrant networks facilitates integration of new arrivals into the local community.
  • Istanbul continues to be a transit point for people intending to continue their journey to Europe, many of which engage with smugglers to cross the border Primarily these are individuals of Afghan, Pakistani and the Syrian foreign nationals.