No plans to grant citizenship to Syrians before referendum: PM sources
Gizem Karakış – ANKARA
AFP photoThere are no plans to grant citizenship to Syrians before the upcoming referendum on shifting Turkey to an executive presidential system, Prime Ministry sources have said.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said the final decision on the issue of granting Turkish citizenship to some Syrians in the country would be taken after the April 16 referendum, as the government wants to refrain from potential negative reactions in advance of the vote, sources said.
They added that the issue was discussed at a cabinet meeting two weeks ago, where Yıldırım said that although the number of people to be granted citizenship initially was not high, taking such a step before the referendum could create negative reactions.
According to presentations that were made to cabinet members during the meeting, a plan for 80,000 Syrians living in Turkey who could be a candidate to be granted citizenship has been conducted. In line with this plan, the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) will submit these candidates to security clearance checks and after April 16 those who fulfill the qualifications will be provided will official documents of citizenship.
Istanbul Governor Vasip Şahin had earlier said the process for granting Syrians citizenship in Istanbul had begun, as files on 2,000 people have been prepared and sent to the Interior Ministry.
“We are now hosting 540,000 Syrian brothers in Istanbul. The government has already stated its decision for qualified Syrians to become citizens. The files for 2,000 families have been prepared sent to the Interior Ministry. Citizenship will be granted after the assessment of our ministry,” Şahin told reporters on Feb. 23, adding that work started a while ago.