At least 4,000 foreign criminals are currently in jail in Turkey, according to official data, daily Milliyet has reported.
The foreign criminals are convicted of crimes including prostitution, robbery, hijacking, printing and transferring counterfeit money, drug and human trafficking.
According to the general directorate of prisons and detention houses data, there are at least 197,000 criminals in jail, 4,000 of whom are foreigners.
A majority of the foreign criminals are reportedly Syrians, of whom there are currently 3 million living in Turkey. Istanbul tops the list of provinces where most crime is committed, followed by Bursa, Antalya, İzmir, Kocaeli, Sakarya and Ankara.
Turgut Göksu, a former academic from the police academy, said crime types were largely related to criminals’ socioeconomic class as well as the networks related to their nationality in Turkey.
“There some crimes that are committed by people in a lower socioeconomic class. We can refer to them as ‘public order crimes.’ Foreigners in Turkey being involved in these crimes could point to the fact that they are in a lower socioeconomic class,” Göksu said.
Erkan Koca, another former academic from the police academy, described the situation as “worrying.”
“Foreigners being involved in crime in Turkey creates uncertainty regarding society, more than a Turkish citizen who commits a crime. It is more worrying than crimes committed by one’s own citizens,” Koca said.