The İstanbul Governor’s Office has directed Syrians who are not registered in İstanbul to leave the city by Aug. 20 and return to the cities where they are registered and gained temporary protection status, Turkish media reports said on Monday.
In a statement on Monday the governor’s office said there are 1,069,860 foreigners registered in İstanbul, 547,479 of whom are Syrians who have temporary protection status, adding that those who do not leave İstanbul by Aug. 20, will be sent back to the cities where they are registered in line with an order from the Interior Ministry.
In a statement earlier in July Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said there are around 4.9 million foreigners in Turkey, 3.6 million of whom are Syrians who have temporary protection status and have taken refuge in Turkey due to an ongoing civil war in Syria that broke out in 2011.
The governor’s office also said İstanbul is no longer accepting foreigners with temporary protection status.
The statement added that as part of its efforts to fight irregular migration, Turkey continues to apprehend migrants who entered Turkey illegally and deport them.
Normally, Syrians are prohibited from leaving the city where they are registered, but many of them go to the big cities where they are more likely to find a job.
Over the past several days, Turkish media have reported that some Syrian refugees in İstanbul are deported even if they are registered in another city.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government is said to have tightened its policy on Syrian refugees following its loss of İstanbul in the mayoral election held last month to an opposition candidate. Many say the public’s unease with the Syrian refugees is one of the reasons for the AKP’s election loss in İstanbul and some other major cities.