Turkey plans to deport Syrians engaging in illegal migration

Turkey plans to deport Syrians engaging in illegal migration

Turkey plans to deport Syrians engaging in illegal migration

DHA photo

Turkey’s Interior Ministry Migration Management Directorate and Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) have been working on a new bill to deport Syrian migrants who were once subjected to illegal migration attempts in Turkish territories, İzmir Governor Mustafa Toprak has said.

“The Interior Ministry’s Directorate of Migration Management along with AFAD are mulling over a new formula to deport those [Syrians] who once engaged in illegal attempts to cross into other countries, but could not be sent to Syria because of the ongoing crisis,” said Toprak, according to Anadolu Agency, adding a measure would be taken without violating international law.

Most Syrian migrants fleeing the war have traveled to the Aegean province of İzmir because of the crossing ease from the Aegean city to Greek islands, which they saw as transition points to immigrate to European countries, Toprak said.

The Turkish Coast Guard Aegean Sea Area Command with the support of local gendarmerie and security forces were already tackling the problem with Syrians fleeing the war and arriving at the Aegean city, he said.

“We cannot ignore overcrowding by Syrians scattered around the downtown [İzmir] carrying baggage with them as to be ready to head off [to another country]. We will develop a new measure [for what is at issue with these Syrians] without violating international law,” Toprak said.

Toprak said seeing migrants living in parks, gardens or mosques was touching, but that a new measure was being developed for those agreeing with human traffickers to endeavor to illegally cross into other countries. 

Around 67,900 foreign nationals, mostly Syrians, were recorded in İzmir by temporary identification documents issued under the administration of the Interior Ministry, he said, adding the Syrian migrants were mostly based in and around İzmir’s Basmane district, Doğan News Agency reported on Aug 5.

“Syrians who [were] ever involved in an illegal attempt in Turkey to cross into other countries cannot be deported due to the ongoing turmoil in Syria,” Toprak said.

There has been congestion in several regions because Syrians wanting to shelter themselves in Turkey before moving on to other countries flocked to these regions to use them as transition points to head abroad, he said.

Turkey hosts the largest number of Syrian refugees fleeing the war, with more than 1.8 million registered Syrian refugees in the country, according to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) released on July 9.

Geographically located between war-torn Syria and Iraq in the southeast and the European Union member states of Bulgaria and Greece in the northwest, Turkey has come to be a transition point for foreign migrants looking to illegally cross into the EU in an endeavor to flee the violence in Iraq and Syria, as well as those who have sought a higher standard of living.

The wave of migration across the Aegean Sea, however, has sometimes resulted in injuries and even deaths due to either the capsizing of migrant-carrying boats or abuse of migrants by human traffickers.

The Turkish Coast Guard Command most recently said as many as 20,166 migrants trying to illegally migrate to another countries from Turkey were rescued in 629 operations in the Aegean Sea and that a total of 42 human traffickers were arrested between Jan. 1 and July 24 this year.