New regulation caps refugee population at certain level in provinces
Hande Fırat- Ankara
As part of plans to keep foreign population at certain levels within local communities, officials are not allowing 16 provinces, including Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir, to admit additional refugees for settlement.
Earlier this month Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said that foreign nationals will not be granted residency in locations where the number of Syrians make up more than 25 percent of the local population.
Around 3.7 million Syrians presently live in Turkey within the scope of temporary protection. Including 1.7 million people from other nationalities, there are 5.4 million foreigners living in the country.
The plan, dubbed “The fight against spatial concentration,” has now been implemented across Turkey as some problems, such as ghettoization and segregation of refugees, their adaptation to social life, the coordination of social services and security issues, have emerged.
Under the new scheme, Syrians are not allowed to concentrate in certain neighborhoods, the population of foreigners are kept as less than 25 percent of the local population, and if it happens those locations are closed to the further settlement of foreign nationals.
Residency applications by foreign nationals are not processed and accepted anymore in 16 provinces where the Syrian population is already high, including Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Antalya, Hatay, Edirne and Kırklareli as well as 800 neighborhoods in 52 provinces.
Moreover, Syrians, where they make up for a large portion of the local population, will be relocated in different districts and provinces on a voluntary basis.
Officials started considering “the fight against spatial concentration” following the incident in Ankara’s Altındağ district last year.
A fight broke out in August 2021 in the district between locals and Syrian refugees, in which an 18-year-old Turkish man was killed by two Syrians and dozens of people were detained.
Some 5,000 foreign nationals were transferred to other locations and buildings, which were not suitable for dwelling and were demolished in the district.
Commenting on the refugee issue, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said in a recent interview that ghettos and a criminal underworld are emerging and those issues must be addressed.
The security of those who want to return to Syria must be provided and diplomatic ties with the Assad regime must be reestablished, said Kılıçdaroğlu.