Interior Minister says 200,950 Syrians in Turkey have become citizens

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu

Amid ongoing debates over whether Syrian refugees in Turkey will be sent back to their homeland, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced that so far a total of 200,950 Syrians who have fled a civil war in Syria and sought refuge in Turkey were granted Turkish citizenship, Turkish minute reported, citing the official Anadolu news agency.

“The number of Syrians who so far have fulfilled the criteria to be naturalized and have become Turkish citizens is 200,950,” Soylu said at a ministerial event in Ankara on Tuesday.

Opposition parties, which have criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for their open door policy towards refugees, have accused them of facilitating naturalization refugees so that they can vote for the AKP in the elections.

According to a report by the daily Sözcü on Tuesday, Turkey is the third country after Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica, two island countries, where foreigners can acquire citizenship through investments at prices lower than the situation in other countries. other countries. Currently, foreign family members obtain Turkish citizenship if they purchase property worth $250,000. In Antigua and Barbuda, this amount is $140,000 while it is $200,000 in Dominica.

However, Turkey last month announced changes to a regulation on the conditions for acquiring Turkish citizenship through investment that requires foreigners to pay at least $400,000 for real estate, instead of $250. $000, to qualify for citizenship on the condition of holding the property for three years. The changes are expected to come into effect soon.

Last week, Soylu also denied claims that there are more than 3.7 million Syrians in Turkey, saying the number of Syrians who have returned home in the past five years has exceeded 1.5 million.

Erdoğan faces growing public anger over the refugees and is wary of the issue that will dominate next year’s presidential election.

Turkey has hosted nearly 5 million refugees in total, including Syrians and Afghans, but their presence has caused tension with the local population, especially as the country is in economic turmoil with a weak pound and the soaring energy and food prices.

Last week, Erdoğan said Ankara aimed to encourage 1 million refugees to return home by building housing and local infrastructure in Syria. However, he said in a statement on Monday that Turkey would not send Syrian refugees back to their home countries despite pressure from opposition parties.

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has pledged that his party will return Syrian refugees to their homeland within two years if it comes to power.

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