Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has said 79,820 Syrians acquired Turkish citizenship and 53,099 of them are eligible to vote in upcoming local elections in Turkey.
Speaking in Mardin on Saturday, he said 3,632,622 Syrians are registered as refugees under international protection in Turkey, rejecting claims by the opposition that Syrians were quickly naturalized in order to support the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“In a country that had 53.6 million eligible voters in the last national election, launching a debate on the reliability of elections in Turkey based only on 53,000 [Syrian] people contradicts our figures. It also insults our intelligence,” he remarked.
Before the June 2018 general election, then-Prime Minister and now Parliament Speaker Binali Yıldırım announced that 30,000 Syrians had acquired citizenship and have the right to vote.
A survey conducted in Turkey’s southeastern province of Gaziantep in October 2018 found that 56 percent of the Syrian migrants living there want to return home if conditions in Syria normalize.
Thirteen percent of them want to go to another country.
The study indicated that 3.6 percent have acquired Turkish citizenship and that 9 percent are in the process of acquiring it; however, 35.9 percent of Syrian migrants do not want to apply for citizenship in Turkey.