The Turkish government is intensifying the crackdown on Syrians, including asylum seekers, local media and human rights groups claim.
Burcu Karakas, from Deutsche Well Turkish, says that many Syrians are being deported from Turkey to Syria but that the Turkish government denies that asylum seekers have been expelled from the country.
Several Syrians told journalist Karakas that Turkish security forces deported them back to Syria after detaining them for not carrying identification documents. Turkish police deported the Syrians despite their ID documents being at home, the Syrians claimed.
Human Rights Association’s (IHD) Istanbul branch Chairman Gulseren Yoleri says that immigrants are facing grave human rights violations, and urges Turkey not to deport refugees or asylum seekers to a country where their safety is compromised, as Turkey is a signatory of international laws that prohibit expelling migrants.
“I have an Istanbul Temporary Protection Identity Card. At my workplace, I asked my boss to get me a work permit, but he refused, so I told him I was leaving. He asked me to give him my phone’s SIM card as customers were calling the company on my phone number, but I told him it was my personal number and I couldn’t give him the card. He then complained to the police and told them I stole money. I found a lawyer and I was finally cleared, yet I was still deported,” a Syrian citizen, Ibrahim, told Turkish T24.
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu stated that, since July 12, Turkish authorities have arrested at least 6,000 unregistered migrants in Istanbul, including 1,000 Syrians. According to Istanbul governorate’s statement, although around one million Syrians live in Istanbul, only 547,479 Syrians are registered in the metropolis.
“When we catch unregistered Syrians, we send them to camps…We will continue to take steps to maintain order… We are running a huge operation, that no other country in the world would cope with,” Soylu said as he shared his plans on the migrant dilemma, Al Jazeera reported.
Turkish Deputy Interior Minister Ismail Catakli also said that Syrians who enter the country illegally will be deported.
According to the Migrant Solidarity Association, of the remaining Syrians, around 350,000 are registered with temporary protection in other cities within Turkey, and roughly 100,000 are unregistered. A total of three million, six hundred and forty-three thousand Syrian citizens live in Turkey.
Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya told Turkish media on Wednesday that between 12 July and 5 August, a total of 14,735 foreign nationals were taken to the Removal Centers (GGM), and 3,346 unregistered Syrian citizens were transferred to the Temporary Housing Centers (GBM).
The Turkish NGO “We Want to Live Together” claimed that Turkish authorities are forcing Syrians and other foreigners to sign “voluntary return” documents and then they deport the foreigners.