Turkey has granted citizenship to more than 92,000 Syrians including children, the country’s interior minister said Friday.
“Nearly 92,280 Syrians, including children, have been granted citizenship. Among them, 47,000 Syrians are adults and 45,280 are children. Most of them are teachers, engineers and qualified people who can make their own living,” Suleyman Soylu told reporters at a news briefing.
He added that 547,000 Syrians were currently living in Istanbul.
“They have already been given the permission to live in Istanbul. We are not registering new ones. We only register university students or when they want to run a business or there is a health issue in question,” he said.
He added that only 7,000 Syrians have registered in Istanbul for humanitarian reasons since January.
Soylu said out of 72,000 Afghan irregular migrants, 29,000 were returned to their country.
He added that Turkish security forces rounded up 177,654 irregular migrants as of July, adding that the number was 268,000 in 2018 and 175,752 in 2017.
“As many as, 12,474 irregular migrants were detained in Istanbul between July 12-31,” Soylu said.
When asked if Daesh terrorists were posing as migrants to infiltrate Turkey, Soylu accepted this was a routine practice also by PKK and Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).
“Over the last two to two-and-a-half years, about 8,000 FETO members crossed the Turkish border from Edirne to Greece,” Soylu said.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.