Turkish gov’t to initially give citizenship to 7,000 Syrians

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Syrian refugees arrive at the Oncupinar crossing gate, close to the town of Kilis, south central Turkey, in order to cross to Syria for the Eid al-Adha Muslim holiday, on August 28, 2017. Turkish authorities allow Syrian refugees to visit their country for Eid-Al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice) celebrities. / AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILIC

A total of 7,000 Syrians out of 300,000 asylum seekers in Turkey are to be initially granted Turkish citizenship, the Cumhuriyet daily reported on Tuesday.

While around 120,000 of 300,000 asylum seekers have applied to the Interior Ministry’s Directorate General of Migration Management for citizenship, priority was given to teachers working at temporary education centers and other highly qualified asylum seekers, whose names were shared with the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) and Turkish police to check their criminal records.

Syrians who submit their applications to the migration management directorates of the provinces they live in can follow the progress of their applications on the website of the General Directorate of Civil Registration and Nationality.

While Syrians who are granted citizenship will not be able to enjoy the right to vote during elections to be held next year, a lawyer from the Gaziantep Bar Association said this can be changed with a state decree.

Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said over 3 million Syrian refugees are living in Turkey and 450,000 have returned home.

Speaking to directors of the immigration authority from Turkey’s 81 provinces in Ankara in July, Soylu said some 4 million refugees comprising 3,069,963 Syrians, 207,000 Iraqis and 133,000 Afghans had taken shelter in Turkey.

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