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Syrian refugees less involved in crime than Turkish citizens, interior minister says

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Turkey’s interior minister, Süleyman Soylu, on Saturday said the crime rate among Syrian refugees was half that of Turkish citizens, the Cumhuriyet newspaper reported.

“In spite of this, some media outlets try to portray these people as crime machines and pursue provocative editorial lines,” he said during a migration-related meeting held in İstanbul by the Directorate General of Migration Management.

Soylu also announced that the government would no longer issue new residence permits to Syrians in İstanbul, which currently hosts 546,296 Syrians.

“With certain exceptions, we are not accepting Syrians for residence in İstanbul,” he said. “We cannot allow anyone to change the demographic balance.”

“It is a matter of priority to focus on the issue of irregular migrants in İstanbul. We will not allow their employment in the informal economy.”

Soylu highlighted the upward trend in the number of migrants from the Middle East and Africa who want to use Turkey as a transit country on their way to Europe.

He said the number of illegal migrants apprehended by Turkish authorities had increased 572 percent between 2013 and 2018.

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