According to data from the Turkish Employment Organization (İŞKUR), the number of workers leaving Turkey to work abroad dropped by 47.5 percent in 2009, from 56,602 in 2008 to 30,742 in 2009. This figure was 70,024 in 2007. The data show that since 1961 the number of Turks working abroad has exceeded 2.2 million and that the 1960s and ’70s saw many workers migrate to European nations such as Germany, France and Austria, whereas the 1980s witnessed a shift toward oil-producing countries, including Iraq, Libya and Saudi Arabia.
The number of Turks working overseas reached a low point in 2000, with only 13,645 able to leave Turkey to work abroad. It peaked during the domestic and global high growth period of 2006, with 81,379 seeking employment outside the country’s borders. The country receiving the greatest number of Turkish workers in 2009 was Libya, with 6,539, followed by Russia, at 5,923. The number of Turks seeking jobs in Russia dropped by 63.2 percent compared to 2008, from 16,095 in 2008 to 5,923 in 2009.