The Mediterranean Turkish province of Antalya, which is a tourism center, also hosts a significant number of expats who have chosen it as their new home. The number of foreigners settled in the province, which was 94 thousand 294 in 2020, rose to 136 thousand 946 last year. It is believed that the Kovid-19 pandemic has pulled the city, known for its beautiful beaches and warm weather, even more. Antalya is already attracting more people, like other holiday resorts in the Mediterranean, during the pandemic that has driven people away from the bustling city life.
The province is home to foreigners from more than 90 countries. Some come there for a short vacation before deciding to relocate permanently, while others are in the state for work and study. The population, which exceeded 2.6 million last year, increased even more with expatriates, especially Russians. Russian citizens make up the majority of expatriates, as well as the majority of tourists visiting the province. Antalya hosts nearly 30,000 Russian citizens in front of 18,214 Kazakh citizens. Iranians, Germans, and Kyrgyz citizens are the next largest groups.
The majority of expatriates reside in Alanya, where they make up about 10% of the population. Alanya is a popular destination thanks to its pristine beaches. Antalya also follows Istanbul in real estate sales to foreigners.
İrina Balcı, who is the head of the Russian Culture and Art Association in the province, is among the expatriates who settled in Antalya. Balcı, who moved to Antalya with his wife 16 years ago, says that he loves this place because of its “climate, sea and nature”.
“Antalya has become more attractive for Russians during the pandemic period. The weather and the sea are always warm and you can go out whenever you want. You also have access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” he said. Antalya is a fruit and vegetable center of Turkey in exports as well as in tourism.
Balcı says that they do not feel like “foreigners” in Antalya, where they have good relations with their Turkish neighbors. “We also have a lot of Ukrainian and Kazakh citizens. Like the former Soviet Union. There are a lot of Russian-speaking people here. There may be tensions between these people elsewhere, but here Russians, Ukrainians and Kazakhs have good relations,” he says.