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Interior minister says 92,000 Syrians granted Turkish citizenship

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A total of 92,280 Syrians have been naturalized in Turkey, according to a statement from Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu.

The minister, who spoke to representatives from Turkish media outlets at the ministry on Friday, said 47,000 of the naturalized Syrians are adults while 45,280 of them are children.

According to a statement from Soylu in February, 3,644,342 Syrians had fled to Turkey since the start of the civil war in the neighboring country.

During Friday’s meeting the minister said most Syrians want to return to Syria the moment the country becomes a safe place to live.

“Some 65 to 70 percent of Syrians, according to surveys, say they will return to Syria if the country becomes safe again. This shows that they will return. For those who want to stay in Turkey, I don’t think there will be problems for them,” said Soylu.

In recent weeks Turkish media have reported that some Syrian refugees in the country are being deported even if they are registered. These Syrians are allegedly being forced sign a document saying they are leaving Turkey of their own accord.

In a move that unsettled Syrian refugees, the İstanbul Governor’s Office on July 22 directed 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.

The governor’s office said those who do not leave İstanbul by Aug. 20 will be sent back to the cities of their registration in line with an order from the Interior Ministry.

On Wednesday, Abdullah Ayaz, who heads the Turkish Interior Ministry’s migration management department, denied reports about the deportation of some Syrians from Turkey, saying that such an act would be legally impossible.

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 in June 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.

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