Syrians in Turkey could become citizens: Erdoğan
KİLİS - Anadolu Agency
AA photoMillions of Syrians living in Turkey will have a chance to become Turkish citizens, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on July 2.
Speaking in the southern Turkish province of Kilis, which borders Syria and hosts more than 120,000 Syrians, Erdoğan said many of the Syrians now in Turkey want to become citizens of the Republic of Turkey.
“There are steps our Interior Ministry is taking on the issue,” he said.
“We will give the chance to [acquire] citizenship by helping out these brothers and sisters by monitoring through offices set up by the ministry,” Erdoğan added.
Around 2.7 million Syrians who have fled the civil war in their country are being sheltered at camps and in major cities across Turkey.
Referring to the Syrian crisis, which turned violent in 2011 when regime leader Bashar al-Assad cracked down on peaceful protesters, Erdoğan said the Syrians had been “prevented from governing themselves.”
“The organization called Daesh [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] is, in fact, a puppet put forward with this aim. The organization called the PYD [the Kurdish Democratic Union Party], and the YPG [the People’s Protection Unit] are subcontractors that were empowered for the same purpose,” he said.
Erdoğan stressed that just as ISIL does not represent Muslims, “the PYD and YPG do not represent Kurds,” adding that they “are tools used for dirty designs in the region by those who hold their leashes.”
“Today we are defending the same principles that we defended six years ago. We are saying the same things,” Erdoğan said on the country’s attitude toward Syrians.
Syria has remained locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, more than 250,000 people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced, according to U.N. figures.
The conflict in Syria has now driven more than 4 million people – a sixth of the country’s population – to seek sanctuary in neighboring countries, making it the largest refugee crisis for a quarter of a century, according to the U.N.