Syrians in Turkey will not impact elections, top official says

Syrians in Turkey will not impact elections, top official says

Fevzi Kızılkoyun – ANKARA
Syrians in Turkey will not impact elections, top official says

Syrians who have been granted Turkish citizenship will be able to cast their votes but will not have an impact on the results of the elections as they are spread to all 81 provinces, a top official has said.

“Nearly 201,000 Syrians have Turkish citizenship. Some 114,000 of them are of full legal age and will cast their votes,” said Gökçe Ok, the deputy director at the Presidency of Migration Management, on May 18.

However, the official at the management affiliated with the Interior Ministry said the Syrian-Turkish voters would not have an impact on the elections. “They are spread to all 81 cities. They do not all live in a neighborhood, a district, or a province,” he added.

Highlighting that no new migrants have been registered in some 15 provinces out of all 81 to protect the demographic structure, Ok noted, “We have closed some 781 neighborhoods [across the country] to the foreigners totally.”

The deputy director also refuted an allegation that the population of Syrians in Turkey will be 35 million as of the year 2035. “There is no such math calculation in demographics,” he said. “Syrians will never reach a number changing Turkey’s demographics.”

Separately, Istanbul is still the favorite place for irregular migrants to reach and live after entering Turkey, according to the “most comprehensive report” conducted about migrants and Syrians residing in Turkey.

“Only 10 percent of the 39 municipalities of Istanbul financially help the Syrians,” said the report titled “The City Refugees of Marmara” by Turkish-German University.

The report also remarked that the number of foreigners in Turkey was around 58,000. Today this number is around 4 million, with 3.7 million of them being Syrians.

“Some 80 percent of the deputy mayors of city municipalities of the Marmara region believe that Syrians will not return to their country in the coming five years,” the report said.

Saying that more than 650,000 Syrian children have been born in Turkey in the last decade, the report underlined that some 770,000 Syrian children are receiving education in Turkish schools.

The report especially pointed out the southeastern province of Kilis, where Syrians “consist some 74 percent of the city population with 115,000 people.”