Turkey tightens control over refugees, arrests new arrivals

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ANKARA, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) – The Turkish government has decided to implement new plans that will tighten control over millions of refugees in the country, a move aimed at combating rising negative feelings towards migrants within Population.

Authorities will stop issuing new applications for temporary protection papers in the capital Ankara and prevent unregistered Syrians from residing in the city, officials said.

“This measure can also be extended to other large cities where refugees are gathered in large numbers,” Interior Ministry spokesman Ismail Catakli told reporters.

A source familiar with the matter told Xinhua that the government is “aware of society’s concerns about refugees and is determined to address the issue with further measures.”

This source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, insisted that “greater control should be exercised over refugee communities, especially in large cities”.

Turkey hosts some 3.6 million refugees who have fled the civil war in Syria for more than a decade. Half a million migrants of other nationalities have also found refuge in Turkey.

The nation is recently concerned about an exodus from Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover of the war-torn nation. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said there are some 300,000 Afghans in Turkey.

A pro-government expert said Erdogan has decided to change his country’s refugee policy and plans to repatriate Afghan refugees as a first step.

“Turkey is not Europe’s warehouse for refugees,” insisted the Turkish leader, echoing the concerns of society and also of its electoral base which considers migrants as a threat to employment.

Economic hardship, made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, has exacerbated negative feelings towards refugees in Turkey.

Afghans are considered the second largest refugee community in Turkey after Syrians. Many migrants arriving via Iran head to Istanbul to find work or a passage to another coastal city from which to embark for Europe.

Faced with a potential new wave of migrants due to instability in Afghanistan, Turkey has maximized measures at its eastern border with Iran, building a three-meter-high wall to prevent illegal entries.

“We are doing our best to make the border impassable,” Mehmet Emin Bilmez, governor of Van province, which has a long border with Iran, told state agency Anadolu.

Almost half of the huge Syrian community in Turkey works informally, according to a recent study by the Turkish Economic Policy Research Foundation (TEPAV). However, despite the problems they face, 79% of Syrians want to continue to stay in Turkey, the survey reveals.

In big cities like Istanbul and Ankara, Syrians have become more visible over the years with many restaurants, cafes, grocery stores or barbers run by Syrians, with advertisements written in Arabic.

Stores like these were the target of an attack last month in an Ankara neighborhood following a deadly scuffle between Syrians and residents, prompting authorities to impose restrictions.

Ankara’s new measures will, however, divide some Syrian families.

“I am registered in Ankara with my wife and children, but my brother, who works here, and his family are not. They will therefore be deported to Sanliurfa, a south-eastern province, on the Syrian border,” he said. said Abdulkader, 38. -years old, told Xinhua.

“We will be separated and we do not know how they will make a living there, it will certainly be difficult,” he added.


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