Advances in Applied Sociology
2012. Vol.2, No.1, 59-65
Published Online March 2012 in SciRes ( DOI:10.4236/aasoci.2012.21008
Foreign Juvenile Delinquency: The Case of Istanbul
Tülin G. İçli1, Hanifi Sever2, Muhammed Sever1, Şevket Ökten3
1Department of Sociology, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey
2Zonguldak Karaelmas University, Zonguldak, Turkey
3Department of Sociology, Harran University, Şanlıurfa, Turkey
Email:, {hanifisever, gm_sever},
Received January 31st, 2012; revised February 26th, 2012; accepted March 11th, 2012
There are many factors that make “illegal migration” become one of the greatest problems of the con-
temporary world. The most significant ones of these factors are economic inequality, states’ incompetence
in securing their peoples’ lives, political turmoils and acts of violence. No matter they are the source or
target countries, all nations are in search of possible national and multinational solutions against the issue
of illegal migration, illegal immigrant and refugee that chronically deliver great deal of problems. In con-
junction with illegal immigration, another problematic phonemenon is revelaed: Foreign juvenile delin-
quency. Both illegally entered a country and involved in criminality, foreign juvenile delinquency is like a
double edged dagger stabbed in the very heart of metropolitan areas. In this regard, foreign juvenile
delinquency can be defined as a social problem which is affected by large-scale social events and trans-
formations such as economic crisis, wars and political conflicts. The aim of this study is to introduce a
general profile of the foreign juveniles that entered Turkey either legally or illegally and committed a
crime and arrested by law enforcers in Istanbul. Files of 1130 juveniles who committed judicial or admin-
istrative crimes are compiled and examined from 2007 to the first four months of 2009.
Keywords: Juvenile Delinquency; Illegal Employment; Illegal Entry; Migration
With regard to social patterns of rapidly changing societies,
one of the most significant topics that are frequently discussed
is crime and delinquency. More specifically, communication,
transportation, urbanization and migration have become basic
factors leading to an increase in the rate of crime. Some types
of crime appear to make societies more restless. Therefore, wealth
and social order are subject to significant threats. Particularly,
juvenile delinquency is a considerable case. A person who
committed a crime, whether a juvenile or an adult, may lead to
the existence of many aggrieved. However, it can not be denied
that impacts and distortions in a society resulting from juvenile
delinquency would be deeper. Given that youngsters are the
future adults of a society, the results of juvenile delinquency
must be more comprehensively examined.
There are many factors that make “migration” become one of
the greatest problems of the contemporary world. The most
significant ones of these factors are economic inequality, states’
incompetence in securing their people’s lives, political turmoils
and acts of violence. When people come across such events,
they may tend to migrate to have better lives.
The collapse of the USSR led to the emergence of new in-
dependent states and therefore a new Euroasia map in the 1990’s.
Emergence of these new states was among the significant rea-
sons of mass migration waves towards the European countries.
In recent years, many people from the Asian countries that ex-
perienced a long period of poverty particularly because of the
cold war and from the African countries that faced civil wars
and thus poverty, have migrated legally or illegally to developed
and safe countries that retain higher standards of living.
Problems that foreign people experience in the countries where
they have migrated may cause them to commit crimes. Related
countries and international institutions have initiated a series of
actions in order to overcome both negative attitudes towards
foreign people who are perceived as “uninvited guests” in the
host countries and to deal with their delinquency. Some host
countries attempt to overcome “foreign people’s delinquency”
by using rigid policy measures. One such policy measure is
Germany’s new migration code that came into effect in 2005
which raised the criteria of integration. Britain on the other hand
encourages foreign people, even the ones that committed crimes,
to return to their country of origin through the attempts of Inter-
national Organization for Migration (IOM). In other words,
Britain financially support migrants to go back to their countries.
Such a practises have also been implemented in Istanbul, Turkey.
Lemieux and Felson (2008) conceptualize foreign people’s
delinquency as “visitor crimes”. This concept can be formulated
as follows:
1) Every foreign person is not a tourist.
2) Every tourist is not delinquent.
In this context, this study defines the concept of foreign per-
son who;
1) Is delinquent,
2) Is not a citizen of Turkey,
3) Has entered the country legally or illegally,
4) Breaks the national laws within the borders of the country.
Therefore, we do not follow the concept of visitor crime in
our study; instead, we deal with the delinquency of those who
have temporary residence permission, legally work in Turkey
and came to this country in order to live here. Thus, the terms
of “foriegn delinquency” or “foreign delinquent” are used in the
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 59
The case of a foreign-origined person can occur in one of the
following four situations:
1) A foreign-origined person commits crime against a citizen.
2) A foreign-origined person commits crime against another
foreign-origined person.
3) A foreign-origined person commits crime against the state.
4) A citizen commits crime against a foreign-origined person.
This study deals with the first three of the above mentioned
categories in which foreign-origined persons are the perpetrators
of the criminal behaviors. Within this framework, the case of
foreign-origined juvenile delinquents are discussed and several
suggestions are offered with regard to prevention of these crimes.
Although juvenile delinquency has been frequently analysed in
related literature, what increases the significance and originality
of this study is that foreign juvenile delinquency has not been
studied up to date. More specifically, this study analyses both
delinquency types committed by foreign juveniles and their
reasons for migration.
Studies on Juvenile Delinquency
Juvenile delinquency is defined as violation of penal code
implemented within the state-controlled areas by a person who
is legally defined as a child (Günşen-İçli, 2009: p. 5). Age
range of a person to be defined as a child is from seven to eigh-
teen years in Turkey as in many other countries.
The Code of Child Protection came into force in Turkey in
2005. It defines juveniles who tend to commit a crime as those
who are aggrieved and who are in need of protection. Juveniles
who are inclined to commit a crime are defined as those who
are legally investigated or prosecuted or subject to security mea-
sures because of charge of crime. Juveniles who are in need of
protection are defined as those “whose physical, mental, ethical,
social and emotional development as well as personal security
is under threat or those who are neglected or abused or those
who are aggrieved because of criminal behaviour committed
against them” (Günşen-İçli, 2009: p. 5). This code interrelates
the terms of delinquency and victimization. Furthermore, this
code requires the use of the measures in line with the control,
protection and reintegration principles rather than the use of
criminal sanctions. The point in this approach is that either vic-
timization of juveniles or their inclination to crime are social
problems caused by social conditions.
Juvenile delinquency is a social problem which is affected by
large-scale social events and transformations such as economic
crisis, wars and political conflicts. For instance, the industrial
revolution, the world wars as well as 1929 Great Depression are
among transformations that have effects on all countries through-
out the world. As a result of these transformations modern so-
cieties experienced similiar conflicts and break downs that caused
serious challenges for juveniles (Fişek et al., 2008: p. 19). In-
ternational migration waves stemming from regional inequa-
lities and globalization is another large-scale transformation.
Depending on international migration movements, many re-
gions of host countries have experienced cultural conflicts and
these conflicts are still being experienced. The European Union
(EU) countries have developed systems of integration towards
migrant people to overcome such problems.
The migrant population is particularly located in urban areas
or near to urban areas that are economically developed. Since
areas in which foreign-origined people live are different from
those areas of citizens in terms of physical appearence, langua-
ge, and religion, such areas can be labelled. Furthermore, fo-
riegn-origined people might be subject to several reactions as a
result of this labelling process. Therefore, migrants usually
prefer to live with the natives. However, there are other reasons
for migrants to live together. Brewer and Yükseker (2007) re-
ported that only 4.8% of their African participants living ille-
gally in Istanbul had negative relationships with the Turkish
citizens. For them, the reasons for migrants to live together are
their common culture and strong cultural bonds.
Brewer and Yükseker (2007) also stated that 42.4% of these
illegal migrants in Istanbul live with their fellow citizens, 16.2%
with their etnical fellows, while 19.2% lives with those sharing
the common religious origin in the migrant-intensive areas that
are at the borderline areas to the affluent districts.
One of the results of unsystematic and heterogen urbaniza-
tion is the gap between native inhibitants of the city and the
migrants not only cultural but also in economic means. There
are poor migrants and rich natives in the same city. Kruger
(2008) stated that districts of rich natives and poor migrants are
separated by a borderline in South Africa and in order to protect
their properties rich natives live in highly protected places
called ‘gated communities’. Moreover, Kruger emphasized that
migrants committed crimes and employed intensive violence
leading to the fear of crime.
Bui (2009: p. 412) states that the relationship between mig-
ration and crime has frequently been analysed beginning by the
20th century in the scholar debates and researches. For Bui, ten-
dency of migrant juvenile to exhibit deviant behavior and cri-
minal behavior is higher because of their adaptation problems.
Bui (2009) deals with the relationship between migrants and
crime in terms of migrants’ inhibition to achieve their legitimate
aims in urban areas as well as in terms of their inability to adapt
to host country’s economy and culture. The other two significant
comprehensive studies on this topic are that of Shaw and Mc-
Kay (1942) concerning social disorganization and of Merton
(1938) concerning inhibition of objectives.
Shaw and McKay (1969) relate juvenile delinquency with
urban disorganization in their study “Juvenile Delinquency and
Urban Areas” (Wong, 2009). Shaw and McKay argue that crime
develops as a reaction to the spatial organization and characte-
ristics of social environment, and deal with the details of urban
ecology of crime. In their city model, organized urban areas are
represented by nested circles with middle ones representing
disorganized areas that have not completed the process of trans-
formation and at the process of transition. The characteristics of
these areas with regard to criminolgy are as follows: high levels
of ethnical differences, frequent move of migrant groups as
well as the existence of gang-like crime organizations.
Merton, regards delinquency as a result of social structure
(Merton, 1938: p. 680). His deviance theory is based on typical
factors of functionalism such as cultural objectives and insti-
tutionalized norms (Merton, 1938: p. 673). Like Durkheim, he
relates crime with anomaly (Merton, 1938: p. 673; Günşen-İçli,
2007: p. 94). It is for sure that his perception of anomaly is
completely different than Durkheim’s definition.
Delinquency is an individual reflection of anomaly which
exists in the social structure. Hoffmann, states that structurally
occuring opportunities lead to the adaptation of common cul-
tural objectives such as earning more money (Hoffman, 2003: p.
756). However, determining structural opportunities also means
that individuals or groups are at different distances to these
cultural objectives. Although all people are given the same
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
objectives such as earning money, being successful at schools,
and having a high-status occupation, the number of the indivi-
duals who can achieve these objectives are limited structurally.
For Merton, objectives and the ways to achieve these objec-
tives are harmoniously integrated in the well-organized societies.
When objectives and the related ways are unproportionally
affected, distortion of integration occurs (Merton, 1938: p. 674;
Günşen-İçli, 2007: p. 95), and it leads to the unequal distribu-
tion of structural opoortunities. Therefore, certain individuals or
certain groups of individuals become disadvantegous with re-
gard to achievement of these culturally valued objectives. Ul-
timately, distinct adaptation forms such as deviation, crime and
juvenile delinquency appear in such societies where oppor-
tunities are highly differentiated (Hoffman, 2003: p. 756).
Many researches, based on Merton’s approach, deal with ten-
sion and its connection with delinquency (Agnew et al., 2002;
Agnew & White, 1992; Bao et al., 2004; Baron, 2004; Broidy,
2001; Hoffmann & Miller, 1998; Jang & Johnson, 2003; Ma-
zerolle, 1998; Mazerolle & Maahs, 2000; Mazerolle, et al.,
2003; Moon et al., 2008; Piquero & Sealock, 2000). Agnew
(1992) developed the theory of tension that is based on Mer-
ton’s view on structural incoherence between objectives and the
related ways and regards some communities as “devoid of op-
portunities”. Some examples of such communities are people
living in slum areas and illegal migrant groups. Culturally va-
lued opportunities are blocked by several social conditions and
therefore, such groups cannot achieve them. Agnew thinks that
such an inhibition leads to anger and disappointment in these
groups and ultimately, conditions of these groups prepare the
tendency of committing crimes (Hoffman, 2003: p. 757).
Research also provides another account of relationships be-
tween migration and crime, namely cultural conflicts or dishar-
mony (Miller, 1958; Sellin, 1938). Miller states that migrants
have their own culture in which criminal values are legitimated
and he identifies the words that are used to value the crime.
One of such words is “intelligence” that means earning money
without any effort in his culture. Furthermore, the words “exci-
tement” and “trouble” are not used in their conventional mean-
ings and have other meanings. Sellin (1938), on the other hand,
talks about cultural conflict. For Sellin (1938 cited in Martinez
& Lee 2000: pp. 490-491) laws reflect the values of dominant
interest groups. Interests, cultural codes, values and norms of
various social groups including migrant groups are not included
in these laws. Therefore, marginalized groups such as migrants
are always potential criminals.
Ubah focuses on the processes of marginalization and aliena-
tion experienced by migrant groups. Ubah following Hirschi’s
(1969) containment theory states that alienation may weaken
the social bonds. This “crisis experience” of migrants may push
them to participate in criminal circles in order to overcome their
alienation (Ubah, 2007: p. 110).
Martinez & Lee (2000: p. 486), on the other hand, argue that
although there are several theoretical perspectives given above
that make us believe that migrants much more tend to commit
crimes, recent researches indicate that the rate of migrant de-
linquency is much less than it is thought to be (Bui, 2009; Di-
novitzer & Hagan, 2009; Hagan & Palloni, 1998; Martinez &
Lee, 2000; Sampson et al., 2005). Martinez & Lee state that
migrants often work in informal sectors and in blue-collar oc-
cupations in the host countries (2000: p. 515). Although their
wage is lower, they cannot be regarded as chronic unemployees
but as much-working poor people. One of the reasons of their
not taking part in delinquency is that they have jobs.
Bui (2009) investigates the resons for migrants to commit
crimes and argues that migrants do not constitute homogenous
groups. For Bui, each migrant group experiences a unique pro-
cess and furthermore, there are generation differences within a
migration group. Bui’s study (2009: p. 435) reveals that first-
generation migrants are less inclined to criminal behaviors such
as substance abuse, property crimes and violence in contrast to
the second- and third-generation migrants.
This study investigates a total of 1130 foreign juveniles who
have been arrested because of judicial or administrative crimes
in Istanbul during the period of 2007-2008 and the first four
months of 2009. The reason for choosing Istanbul as a study
area is that Istanbul is the most crowded city with the highest
crime levels in Turkey. Turkish Penal Code states that juveniles
younger than 12 years old have no penal responsibility and that
those juveniles between 12 years old and 15 years old may
benefit punitive reductions. Thus, the participants of the study
are divided into three age groups as follows: <12, 12 - 15 and
15 - 17.
The files on juveniles who committed judicial or administra-
tive crimes are compiled and investigated from 2007 to April
2009, including 1130 juvenile files. Those juveniles that entered
Turkey legally or illegally were not with their parents when they
were arrested. In other words, during investigations, juveniles
reported that their families are not in Turkey. Therefore, all
juveniles participated in the study are unaccompanied juveniles.
Juvenile Police deals with the procedures of the juvenile de-
linquents. The speciality of this unit is to analyse the crimes
committed by juveniles. These juveniles are sent to Institution
of Social Services Children Protection (SHÇEK) in order to
acquire state protection. Therefore, all particpants of the study
are being protected by the state.
Obtained data are first given in tables of frequency and per-
centage, then cross-tables are given to indicate the relationship
between juvenile delinquency and related variables.
Turkish Penal Code states that juveniles younger than 12
years old have no criminal responsibility and that those juve-
niles between 12 years old and 15 years old may benefit punitive
reductions. Thus, participants of the study are divided into three
age groups as follows: <12, 12 - 15 and 15 - 17. Therefore, as
seen in Table 1, 3.3% of the participants have no criminal
responsibility. 82.2% of them are in the age group of 15 - 17.
43.8% of them are 17, 25.2% are 16 and 13.2% are 15 years old.
It is seen that older the child, higher the delinquency rate.
Table 1.
The distribution of age of foreign juvenile delinquents.
Age Frequency Percent
15 - 17 929 82.2
12 - 15 164 14.5
Under 12 37 3.3
Total 1130 100.0
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 61
As seen in Table 2, majority of the participants are males
(81%). Juvenile citizens of forty-two countries committed judi-
cial or administrative crimes in Istanbul during the study period.
The rate of juvenile delinquents from Asian countries (89.3%)
is much higher than those from European countries (9.2%) and
from African countries (1.5%).
Afghan juvenile delinquents forms nearly half of the parti-
cipants (41.2%). Pakistani and Azerbaijani juvenile delinquents
constitute the second and third major groups among participants
of the study (13.9% and 9.9%, respectively).
As seen in Table 3, more than the half of the participants
committed illegal entry crime (66.3%). Although they enter the
country legally, 14.4% of the participants committed visa vio-
lation. 7.5% of them were illegally employed in Istanbul. 6.3%
of the juveniles committed the crime of fraud. All of these
juveniles committed passport or visa fraud. Very small portion
of the group (1.7%) committed the crime of prostitution. Again,
1.7% of them committed robbery. 2.1% of the participants com-
mitted other crimes such as smuggling, extortion, murder, drugs,
injury, jugglery and attack to police.
Table 2.
The distrubution of sex, mainland and the countries of foreign juvenile
Sex Frequency Percent
Male 915 81
Female 215 19
Total 1130 100.0
Asia 1013 89.3
Europe 101 9.2
Africa 16 1.5
Total 1130 100.0
Afghanistan 466 41.2
Pakistan 157 13.9
Azerbaijan 112 9.9
Turkmenistan 77 6.8
Iraq 72 6.4
Moldavia 45 4
Iran 32 2.8
Total 961 85
Table 3.
The distribution of juveniles’ crime types.
Crime Types Frequency Percent
Illegal Entry 750 66.3
Visa Violation 163 14.4
Illegal Employment 85 7.5
Fraud 71 6.3
Prostitution 19 1.7
Robbery 19 1.7
Other 23 2.1
Total 1130 100.0
The majority of the participants were seized by police (91.9%),
while only 8.1% of them were arrested by gendarmerie (Table 4).
Istanbul has 39 districts. Foreign juveniles that committed
crimes are found to be in 30 districts. As seen in Table 5,
88.1% of the juveniles participated in the study were arrested
on the European side of Istanbul. Those districts in which the
participants frequently committed crimes are Fatih (28.1%),
Zeytinburnu (14.8%) and Bakırköy (10.3%).
In terms of frequently committed crimes by country of origin
(Table 6), it is found that illegal entry is mostly committed by
Afghan and Pakistani juveniles (60.9% and 20.9%, respectively).
Fraud is frequently committed by juveniles from Iraq (49.3%)
and Iran (16.9%), while robbery is common among the juve-
nilen from Azerbaijan (42.1%), Iran (21.1%) and Georgia (10.5%).
As seen in Table 7, 35.5% of the juveniles who illegally
worked in Istanbul are from Azerbaijan, while 29.4% of them
are from Turkmenistan and 8.2% of them are from Georgia.
Visa violation is most frequently committed by juveniles from
Turkmenistan (26.4%), Azerbaijan (23.9%) and Moldovia (19%).
Furthermore, juveniles committed the crime of prostitution are
from Moldovia (26.3%), Uzbekistan (15.8%) and Turkmenistan
In terms of frequent crime types based on districts (Table 8),
it is seen that the crime of fraud is mostly committed in the
following districts: Bakırköy (81.8%), Fatih (7%) and Pendik
(5.6%). The crime of illegal entry is found to be mostly
committed in the districts of Fatih (30.8%) and Zeytinburnu
(20.5%). On the other hand, the crime of illegal employment is
frequently committed in the districts of Fatih (21.2%), Bayram-
paşa (18.8%), Küçükçekmece (9.4%) and Büyükçekmece (7.1%).
The crime of visa violation is found to be frequently commited
in the districts of Fatih (25.8%) and Gaziosmanpaşa (9.2%).
Another crime type, prostitution appears to be frequently com-
mitted in Fatih (57.9%).
Table 4.
The distribution of law enforcement agencies that seize foreign juvenile
Seize Frequency Percent
Police 1038 91.9
Gendarmerie 92 8.1
Total 1130 100.0
Table 5.
The distribution of scenes where foreign juvenile delinquents commit
Crime Scene Continent Frequency Percent
Asian side (of Istanbul) 133 11,9
European side 997 88,1
Total 1130 100,0
District Frequency Percent
Fatih 318 28,1
Zeytinburnu 167 14,8
Bakırköy 116 10,3
Gaziosmanpaşa 59 5,2
Küçükçekmece 58 5,1
Eyüp 56 5
Bayrampaşa 52 4,6
Other 304 26,9
Total 1130 100,0
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Table 6.
The relationships between crime types and the juveniles’s countries.
Fraud Illegal entry Robbery
Country/Crime types n % n % n %
Afghanistan 1 1.4 457 60.9 - -
Azerbaijan - - 29 3.9 8 42.1
Georgia 3 4.2 1 0.1 2 10.5
Iraq 35 49.3 29 3.9 - -
Iran 12 16.9 6 0.8 4 21.1
Pakistan - - 157 20.9 - -
Other 20 28.2 71 9.5 5 26.3
Total 71 100.0 750 100.0 19 100.0
*Column percent.
Table 7.
The relationships between the country of origin and crime types.
Illegal EmploymentVisa violation Prostitution
Country of or igin/
Crime types n % n % n %
Azerbaijan 30 35.5 39 23.9 1 5.3
Armenia - - 10 6.5 - -
Georgia 7 8.2 - - - -
Moldavia 2 2.4 31 19 5 26.3
Uzbekistan 2 2.4 5 3.1 3 15.8
Romania - - 7 4.3 2 10.5
Russia Fed. 6 7.1 2 1.2 2 10.5
Turkmenistan 25 29.4 43 26.4 3 15.8
Other 13 15 26 15.6 3 15.8
Total 85 100.0 163 100.0 19 100.0
*Column percent.
Table 8.
The Relationships between the Districts and Crime Types.
Illegal Entry Illegal
employment Visa ViolationProstitution
Crime Types n % n % n % n%
Bakırköy 46 6.1 - - 7 4.3 1 5.3
Bayrampaşa 26 3.5 16 18.8 5 3.1 - -
Büyükçekmece 6 0.8 6 7.1 11 6.7 1 5.3
Eyüp 42 5.6 3 3.5 10 6.1 - -
Fatih 231 30.8 18 21.2 42 25.8 1157.9
Gaziosmanpaşa 37 4.9 4 4.7 15 9.2 - -
Küçükçekmece 42 5.6 8 9.4 5 3.1 - -
Pendik - - - - 3 1.8 1 5.3
Ümraniye 38 5.1 2 2.4 3 1.8 - -
Zeytinburnu 154 20.5 2 2.4 7 4.3 1 5.3
Other 128 17.1 26 30.5 55 33.8 4 20.9
Total 750 100.0 85 100.0 163 100.0 19100.0
*Column percent.
In terms of frequently committed crimes based on country of
origin, it is seen that illegal entry is mostly committed by those
from Afhganistan (60.9%) and Pakistan (20.9%). Juveniles from
both Iraq (49.3%) and Iran (16.9%) are found to be frequently
committed fraud, whereas those from Azerbaijan (42.1%), Iran
(21.1%) and Georgia (10.5%) are found to be mainly committed
robbery. The distribution of the juveniles who illegally worked
in Istanbul is as follows: 35.5% of them are Azerbaijani, 29.4%
Turkmen and 8.2% Geargian. Further more, the juveniles from
Turkmenistan (26.4%), Azerbaijan (23.9%) and Moldovia (19%)
are found to be frequently committed visa violations. On the
other hand, juveniles committed the crime of prostitution are
from Moldovia (26.3%), Uzbekistan (15.8%) and Turkmenistan
In terms of crime types based on gender (Table 9), it appears
that females committed the crimes of prostitution and 50.3% of
visa violations. The remaining crime types are found to be
mostly committed by males. The distribution of crime types
committed by males is as follows: 67.6% of fraud; 91.2% of
illegal entry; 71.8% of illegal employment; 89.5% of robbery
and 91.3% of serious crimes (smuggling, extortion, murder, drugs,
injury, jugglery and attack to police).
Discussion and Conclusion
The data obtained reveal that 81% of the juveniles arrested
because of commititng crimes are males. The most frequently
committed crimes by males are as follows: illegal entry (91.2%)
and robbery (89.5%). Those frequently by females are visa
violations (50.3%) and fraud (32.4%).
As stated earlier, although there are several theoretical pers-
pectives given above that make us believe that migrants much
more tend to commit crimes, recent researches indicate that the
rate of migrant delinquency is much less than it is thought to be
(Martinez & Lee, 2000). Migrants often work in informal sec-
tors and in blue-collar occupations in the host countries leading
to prevent them from committing crimes (Martinez & Lee,
2000: p. 515).
Since some of the juveniles who committed crimes have no
criminal responsibility according to the Turkish Penal Code, it
may be envisaged that these juveniles are encouraged to enter
Table 9.
The relationships between the country of origin and gender.
Male Female Total
Crime Types/Gen der
n % n % n %
Fraud 48 67.6 23 32.4 71 100.0
Illegal Entry 684 91.2 66 8.8 750 100.0
Illegal Employment 61 71.8 24 28.2 85 100.0
Visa Violation 81 49.7 82 50.3 163 100.0
Robbery 17 89.5 2 10.5 19 100.0
Serious Crimes 21 91.3 2 8.7 23 100.0
*Row percent.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 63
Juveniles between 15 and 17 years old that are not accom-
panied by their parents are found to commit various types of
crimes (82.2%). Migrant juveniles find themselves in a cultural
structure with different values and norms. At the same time,
they feel that they are aliens to this new cultural structure. Since
they cannot be legally employed, they tend to commit various
crimes, particularly those against property. In the study, it is
found that 1.7% juveniles committed the crime of robbery against
private property. As stated earlier, 6.3% of the participants of
the study committed the crime of fraud. More specifically they
dealt with passport fraud and visa fraud. 1.7% of the juveniles
who could have necessary living finance are found to commit
the crime of prostitution. Furthermore, 2.1% of the juveniles are
found to commit various serious crimes such as smuggling,
extortion, murder, drugs, injury, jugglery and attack to police.
Hirschi (1969) developed containment theory and states that
alienation may weaken the social bonds. This theory appears to
account for the case of juveniles sampled in the study. Ubah
focuses on the marginalization and alienation processes expe-
rienced by migrants. Ubah following Hirschi’s (1969) contain-
ment theory states that alienation may weaken the social bonds.
This “crisis experience” of migrants may push them to partici-
pate in criminal circles to overcome their alienation (Ubah,
2007: p. 110).
Foriegn juveniles who could not achieve the cultural objec-
tives and purposes of the host culture attempt to achieve these
objectives by using illegal means and ways leading to partici-
pating in criminal activities. At this point Hoffman’s view (2003)
on poor groups, slums and migrant illegal workers in which
these groups are regarded as “devoid of opportunities” appears
to be relevant. For Hoffman, since the access of these groups to
culturally valued objectives, their disappointment and anger
may cause them easily to deal with illegal activities.
Differences in socio-economic status may be risk factors for
foreign juveniles as for adults with regard to having deviant
behaviour. Foreign juveniles who come to disadvantaged regions
may learn the criminal behaviour as a result of their experience
in these regions as discussed by the learning theories.
Additionally, since they are not accompained by their parents
or other significant relatives, they are subject to exploitation by
adults and therefore, encouraged to involve in criminal behavior.
Bui (2009) investigates the resons for migrants to commit
crimes and argues that migrants do not constitute homogenous
groups. For Bui, each migrant group experiences a unique pro-
cess and furthermore, there are generation differences within a
migration group. For Bui some generations of migrants are much
more inclined to commit crimes than other generations of mig-
rant groups. Differences between various generations of mig-
rant groups should be examined in future studies.
66.3% of the juveniles sampled in the study, like adults, ille-
gally entered Turkey in order to have better lives and find jobs.
Additionally, 14.4% of them committed visa viaolations although
their entry is legal. 7.5% of the participants illegally worked in
Istanbul. As stated earlier, juveniles from forty-two different
countries committed various crimes in Istanbul. Majority of them
(89.3%) came from the Asian countries. Those from the Euro-
pean countries form the second group (9.2%) and those from
the African countries form the last group (1.5%). Foreign ju-
venile delinquents are mostly from Afhganistan and rarely from
Pakistan. Given that these two countries have been experienc-
ing serious economic and political instability for a long period
of time, the reasons of their migration to Turkey can be better
Afhganistan’s population is 32.738.376 as of July 2008. The
distribution of population based on age groups are as follows:
44.6% 0 - 14 years old, 53% 15 - 64 years old and more than
2.4% older than 65 years old. Mean age is 17.6 years old. Net
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is not known beacuse of in-
tensive terrorist activities, although the rate of unemployment is
40% (CIA, 2008). Therefore, the reasons for migration of peo-
ple are very clear.
In Pakistan, 35% of the population have been living under
poor conditions. Its population is 172,800,048 as of July 2008.
The distribution of population based on age groups are as fol-
lows 37.8% 0 - 14 years old, 58 % 15 - 64 years old and 4.2%
older than 65 years old. Mean age is 20.5 years old (CIA, 2008).
Of the Afhgan ve Pakistan illegal migrants, 68.7% earn nearly
40.87 (±31,43) USA dollars per month in their country of origin.
Therefore, more than half of the community is poor and 58.4%
of has no property (Sever, 2009).
Crime types committed by migrant juveniles based on their
country of origin are as follows: 60.9% of the juveniles who
illegally entered Turkey are Afghan juveniles, while 35.5% of
them who worked illegally are Azerbaijani and 29.4% of them
are Turkmen. The percentages of the foreign migrant juveniles
who violate the visa rules are as follows: Turkmen (26.4%),
Azerbaijani (23.9%) and Moldovian (19%).
Furthermore, juveniles committed the crime of prostitution
are from Moldovia (26.3%), Uzbekistan (15.8%) and Turkme-
nistan (15.8%). The reasons for such a devaint behavior may be
that host countries do not legally allow juveniles to work and
earn necessary money for their everyday life.
The data indicate that 91.9% of the particpants were seized
by the police. Therefore, the crimes committed by juveniles in
the study mostly occurred in urban areas. Istanbul has 39 districts.
Foreign juveniles committed crimes in 30 of these districts.
Those districts in which the participants frequently committed
crimes are as follows: Fatih (28.1%), Zeytinburnu (14.8%) and
Bakırköy (10.3%). Since different crimes are committed at dif-
ferent rates in different districts of Istanbul, a district’s security
measures, dominant economic activities carried out and popula-
tion structure have effects on these outcomes.
One of the most signifcant findings is that 66.3% of the par-
ticipants were arrested due to illegal entrance to Turkish borders.
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