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Turkey offers citizenship for 102,000 Syrian refugees - official

ANKARA, Aug 24 (KUNA) -- A Turkish official said Saturday that his country had offered citizenship for some 102,000 Syrian refugees, adding that the government spent around USD 40 billion to aid 3.6 million refugees since the crisis in Syria began in 2011.
In an article on Turkey's policy towards the Syrian refugees, which was published in the American the Foreign Policy magazine and picked up by the Anadolu Agency (AA) -- Turkish Presidency's Director of Communications Prof. Dr. Fahrettin Altun said the idea his country would deport Syrian refugees for no reason was "preposterous".
Altun also reminded in the article that Turkey has admitted approximately 3.6 million Syrian refugees compared with 1.4 million in Jordan and just 18,000 in the US.
Altun rejected the claims that Turkey is attempting to "sidestep international obligations to protect" Syrian refugees and is deporting Syrians and described them as "misleading." "Once registered with the authorities, those individuals are entitled to public services, including free health care and education," Altun said.
However, to facilitate the delivery of such services, Turkey has required all refugees to reside in the province where they initially registered, Altun stressed.
"Because some Syrians relocated within the country without notifying the authorities, the Turkish government launched an initiative in early 2017 to update records and achieve a more balanced distribution of asylum-seekers across the country," he said.
On the ongoing action in Istanbul against irregular migration, Altun said, "This measure is intended to ensure the uninterrupted delivery of public services to the refugee community and enforce the long-existing rules that have enabled Turkey's extraordinary response to the Syrian civil war." Altun's article came as Turkey extended a deadline until October 30 for unregistered Syrians in Istanbul to leave the city and to go to the provinces, where they were first registered.
On Friday, Turkey said that some 346,000 Syrian refugees returned to their homes in Syria. (end) rs.gta