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Unregistered Syrians to protest governor’s office order to leave İstanbul

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Syrian refugees living in İstanbul will hold a mass protest on July 27 against a recent decision by the İstanbul Governor’s Office ordering Syrians who are not registered in İstanbul to leave the city by Aug. 20 and return to the cities where they registered and gained temporary protection status, Turkish media reports said on Thursday.

The protest, which will take place in İstanbul’s Fatih district, is supported by many nongovernmental organizations that work for refugees.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said in a recent statement that Turkey would not let Syrians to hold such a protest.

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.

Mehdi Davut, the president of a platform representing Syrians, said the governor’s office decision caught Syrians unprepared and they were given very little time, adding that many families will experience problems if they leave İstanbul.

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 Syrian refugees is one of the reasons for the AKP’s election loss in İstanbul and some other major cities.

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