Syrians in Istanbul to stage protest against governor’s new measures

A group of Syrians announced that they will organise a demonstration in Istanbul’s Fatih district on Saturday to protest the governor’s order that instructs the Syrian refugees to return to the Turkish province in which they were registered on arrival, Birgün newspaper reported.

The Istanbul governor’s office on Monday set an Aug. 20 deadline for Syrian refugees to return to the Turkish province in which they were registered on arrival or face forcible return to those regions.

Syrian refugees say the authorities do not wait for the end of one month deadline to send Syrians refugees back to provinces they are registered, while some refugees are reportedly deported to the Syrian province of Idlib. The refugees also say that family members were registered in different cities and some families now have to be separated due to the order.

The Platform of Syrian Associations said the protests would be held to protest the exile of Syrians. Fatih, where the protests will be organised, is a conservative district of Istanbul. It is home to a sizeable community of Syrians and is a place where locals say Syrians have established ghettos.

Turkey’s Interior Minister, Süleyman Soylu, said this month that Syrians would no longer be registered in Istanbul. The platform’s head Mehdi Davut told Birgün that the registrations in fact had been suspended since 2016. 

“The security of Istanbul and the state is important for all of us. But how can a person change his life in one month and go to another place,” Davut said. 

“People right now face serious unjust treatment. People have been sent now. Yesterday 30 people were deported,” he said.

The Syrians announced first that they would organise the protest on Friday. But the protest did not take place, after Soylu said that the authorities would not allow it.