Unregistered Syrians, illegal migrants sent from Istanbul
Vahap Munyar – ISTANBUL
Istanbul Governor’s Office said in a statement released on Aug. 1 that 12,474 illegal migrants and 2,630 unregistered Syrians have been caught so far in operations launched since July 12.
The illegal migrants were sent to repatriation centers for deportation, while the Syrians were sent to refugee camps as they are all under temporary protection status in Turkey, said the governor’s statement.
“[Between July 12-31] some 2,630 Syrians, who have no registration in any province [of Turkey], have been transferred to temporary accommodation centers determined by our ministry [the Interior Ministry]. The process regarding the return of Syrians who are registered in other provinces to those provinces continues,” said the statement.
Authorities in July ordered Syrians initially registered in other provinces to return there by Aug. 20. They also said that Syrians who are not registered in any Turkish province would be sent to refugee camps, if caught during police inspections.
Meanwhile, Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya paid a visit to Demirören Media Center in the district of Bağcılar on July 31, explaining Turkey’s measures regarding the illegal migration issue.
Yerlikaya said during his visit that illegal migrants caught July 12-31 in Istanbul had been sent to repatriation centers located in other provinces.
“Some 30 buses are taking off a day from Istanbul for the transportation of illegal migrants to repatriation centers in other provinces,” he said. “For example, for migrants who came from Afghanistan via illegal means, we rent an airplane and make sure that they go back with charter flights.”
Illegal migrants caught so far in Istanbul come from a total of 22 countries, he added.
Yerlikaya said during his visit that there are currently a total of 1,082,943 registered foreigners in Istanbul, 2,216 whom are Syrians under international protection, 547,716 whom are Syrians under temporary protection and the remaining 533,011 are other foreign nationals with a residence permit.
The governor said that they have previously warned businesses against the employment of Syrians in the informal economy.
“We will conduct meetings with trade associations and business representatives. A total of 45,000 businesses will be visited [by the police] until Aug. 25. They will be told about sanctions should they continue informal employment,” he said.
“Istanbul Governor’s Office is aiming to reduce irregular migration in the province to zero and to finish informal employment,” he said.
The governor thereby called on businesses to have their Syrian employees registered in the Turkish social security system. The businesses first need to obtain working permission for them from the relevant authorities, but such a situation cannot be possible if the relevant Syrian employee is registered in a city other Istanbul, he said.
“There is an obligation that the foreign national lives in the province where they work…For Syrians who are not registered [in Turkey], on the other hand, there is no possibility of them [officially] working in any job or place. It is not possible by law to hire a foreigner who is an irregular migrant,” he said.
Yerlikaya also touched upon the number of unregistered Syrians living currently in Istanbul. He said that the authorities are estimating this number not to exceed 10,000-15,000.