Interior minister says Turkey only targeting illegal migration with crackdown
Turkey’s crackdown on migration are aimed at preventing illegal migration and the government will not deport any Syrian refugees with temporary protection status, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Sunday.
"These plans that have been implemented in recent days, particularly in Istanbul, pertain entirely to irregular and illegal migration. We don’t have the ability or right to [for deportation]. We have no such desire or action,’’ independent news site Diken quoted Soylu as saying.
Soylu’s comments arrive amid increasing reports of detentions and forced returns targeting the country’s Syrian refugees, particularly in Turkey’s largest city of Istanbul, which is home to more than 500,000 of the country’s 3.6 million Syrian refugees. Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday accused Turkey of detaining and coercing Syrians into signing “voluntary return” forms and then forcibly returning them to northern Syria, an area that is currently a war zone.
Soylu on Sunday said deportation is out of question for Syrian people who are under temporary protection or have residence permit and for foreigners who are granted international protection status.
The interior minister added that those under the temporary protection "must be settled" in cities where they were officially registered,
A total of 268,000 irregular migrants had been captured in Turkey in 2018 and
more than 165,000 irregular migrants have so far been detained in Turkey since the beginning of 2019, the Turkish interior minister said.
Syrian asylum seekers registered in Turkey must remain in the provinces they are registered in. The Istanbul governor’s office this week gave Syrian asylum seekers in the megacity who are not registered there, until August 20 to relocate or face forcible transfer.
Refugees who resided in Istanbul despite not being registered there will be referred to camps if they failed to leave the province, Soylu added on Sunday.
An estimated 200,000 of Istanbul’s over 500,000 Syrian refugees are registered elsewhere.
The interior minister also reiterated that new registrations were not allowed in a number of provinces, including Istanbul, with the exception of "humanitarian reasons" such as medical treatment.