Over 15,000 locals in Turkey’s small northern district immigrate to US
ISTANBULOver 15,000 people from the Yağlıdere district of the Black Sea province of Giresun have immigrated to the United States since the 1960s, making it the Turkish district most represented in the U.S., daily Habertürk has reported.
With a population of 16,000 now, Yağlıdere first witnessed emigration by a young Greek man called Lefter, who first immigrated to Greece before finally settling in the U.S. after the Turkish War of Independence. After setting up his own business in the country, Lefter re-visited his hometown of Yağlıdere. He later took a tailor friend, İzzet Aydın, with him to the U.S. Aydın went to the U.S. along with his relatives, sparking a huge demand for immigration among locals.
The most significant reason for immigration to the U.S. from one of the smallest districts in Giresun has been economic problems as the only source of income has been hazelnuts. The prosperity of the returning immigrants has also encouraged locals to move to the U.S., some with the help of their relatives and others through illegal means.
As a result of the immigration, many locals speak English during their summer-time visits to Yağlıdere and the U.S. dollar shapes the district’s economy.
The flow of immigration to the U.S. continued until 2000, but U.S. authorities later began to impose discretionary embargoes on locals due to the overwhelming demand.
In 2008, just one person was granted a visa, while the same figure was two in 2007 and four in 2009.
Meanwhile, the number of people who obtained U.S. visas between 2000 and 2010 was only 100.
According to some rumors, some Americans assume Yağlıdere is Turkey’s biggest state.
It has also been reported that former President George H.W. Bush told the Turkish prime minister of the time, Turgut Özal, during a visit to Turkey that he wanted to visit Yağlıdere.