The “cost of living” has exhausted the patience of foreigners in Turkey, especially Russians. Foreigners, especially Russian citizens who migrated to Antalya due to the Russia-Ukraine war, are returning to their countries. The number of “foreigners with residence permits” leaving Antalya in the last 4 months alone exceeded 17 thousand. Housing sales to foreigners decreased by 29.23 percent in the nine months of the year.
With the Russia-Ukraine war, thousands of Russian and Ukrainian citizens who started to live in Turkey, especially in Antalya, caused rents to rise in Antalya and its districts. In addition to the high inflation and cost of living in Turkey, rents reaching astronomical levels and the increase in the cost of acquiring citizenship in exchange for housing to 450 thousand dollars caused a decrease in foreigners living in Antalya.
According to the data of Antalya Directorate of Migration Management, the number of foreigners with residence permits in the province, which was 148 thousand 597 on June 22, 2023, decreased to 131 thousand 659 on October 26, 2023. Accordingly, while 17 thousand foreigners with residence permits left Antalya in just 4 months, the number of those who have left since the beginning of the year has reached 25 thousand.
Antalya Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ATSO) President Ali Bahar said that the number of foreigners residing in Antalya decreased by about 10 percent in 2023 compared to the previous year. Stating that factors such as high rents, the cost of living, the rise in the cost of citizenship and the difficulty of residence permits were effective in the decline, Bahar continued as follows: “The increase in rents has become an important problem for foreigners living in Antalya. Rents in Antalya have increased above Turkey’s average in recent years. The cost of basic needs for resident foreigners has risen, which has become a reason for reverse migration.”
Bahar noted the following: “There is also a decrease in the number of companies with foreign capital in Antalya. Antalya received excessive migration after March 2022. The number of 266 foreign companies opened in the 5-month period this year is lower than last year, but higher than expected. It should not be forgotten that the main reason for the excessive increase in the number of foreign companies last year was the Russia-Ukraine war. In the 9 months of this year, while the number of housing sales to foreigners was 10 thousand 372, this number was 14 thousand 656 in the same period last year. There is a 29.23 percent decrease compared to last year. The effect of the war is also valid for foreign housing sales. The decrease in the number of foreigners residing in Antalya is the result of a number of factors. However, Antalya is still an international center of attraction.”
“Russia’s exit ban effective”
Semih Esen, the mayor of Konyaalti, where Russian citizens live densely, said that the reason for the decrease in the number of foreigners residing in Antalya is that the Russian Federation banned its citizens from leaving the country due to the war and asked men of military age to return to their country. Esen said that 32 thousand foreigners received residence permits in Konyaalti district last spring, and a total of 52 thousand foreigners, including 15-17 thousand citizenship holders and tourists, lived in Konyaalti district.
Money transfer issues were also effective
“In my opinion, the decrease in foreigners is due to the Russian Federation’s ban on citizens leaving the country and making it difficult to transfer money. In addition, the heavy penal sanctions for men of military age who did not return to their country were also effective”, Esen said.