Turkey, Europe

‘Turkey continues open border policy for refugees’

Migration department officials ruled out forcible deportation, 337,000 Syrians returned voluntarily after signing agreement

Gökhan Ergöçün   | 01.08.2019
‘Turkey continues open border policy for refugees’

ISTANBUL

Turkey has denied reports that it has either closed its borders or stopped registering Syrian refugees, officials said here on Thursday.  

Addressing a news conference in Istanbul, Ramazan Secilmis, head of the Combatting Irregular Migration Department at the Directorate-General for Migration Management, said the country was continuing with its open border policy for refugees and there was no question of any forcible deportation.

He said that about 337,000 Syrians had returned to their country voluntarily, after signing an agreement in Arabic and Turkish language.

“Those returning voluntarily head to Syria's two peaceful zones, cleared from terror and war by Turkey. It is not possible to send Syrians to other areas," he added.

Turkey conducted two successful cross-border operations in Syria since 2016, Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch, both meant to eradicate the presence of PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists.

The officer informed that there are over 547,000 Syrians in Istanbul alone.

He said, since the metropolis had reached to its limit, new registrations were closed here. But for other cities, there is no such restriction, and refugees are free to register themselves.

The migration department official said that Syrian refugees were prohibited to travel without permits, as some cases had been noticed, where a refugee had registered in one city, and was living in other.

He also asked refugees to come to Turkey through proper border gates, because there are many threats in Syria, such as terror organizations like -- PYD and Daesh

Another Turkish government official said that the country was engaged in providing several services to Syrians in many areas such as translation, health, education and social security to boost their living standards.

Omer Faruk Tanriverdi, manager of the Public Diplomacy Department at Turkey's Directorate of Communications, said that around 434,000 Syrian babies were born in Turkey.

He added that this number was larger than the population of many cities in Turkey and Europe. He said the government is working overtime to save these babies from becoming the lost generation.

Secilmis said there were 2.5 million Syrians living in Turkey in 2015. The number has now grown to 3.8 million. He said it was not possible for such a large population to live without registration.

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