ISTANBUL: Turkey is preparing to grant citizenship to Syrian refugees, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Saturday, at an iftar dinner he attended in southeastern Kilis province, local media reported.
Addressing Syrian refugees, Erdoğan said that the interior Ministry is working to grant citizenship for Syrians who want to become Turkish citizens, though he did not specify a time period or give more details.
”Turkey is your home too,” Erdoğan said, and added that the emotional borders of Turkey surpass its official borders, while he thanked the people of Kilis for their hospitality and embracing Syrians fleeing conflict.
With a population of 129,000, the town is just a few miles from the Syrian border and is home to about 120,000 Syrian refugees.
Erdoğan blamed Bashar Assad once again for the Syrian Crisis and said he kills his own citizens with conventional weapons, bombs and tanks.
He criticized foreign powers for supporting the Assad regime and said Syria would have been a free and peaceful country today if the Assad regime was not supported.
”The world insists on its ignorant attitude towards the Syrian Crisis,” Erdoğan said, and continued by saying that they tried to resolve the issue by closing the doors on Syrian refugees when they flocked to their borders.
He also underscored that Daesh does not represent Muslims and neither does the YPG represent the Kurds.
Hosting almost half of the 4.2 million displaced Syrians in the region over the past three years, Turkey has borne the largest share of the refugee burden.
The number of Syrian refugees living in Turkey has exceeded the sum of the populations of the 15 least populated Turkish provinces.
Contributing nearly $9 billion to humanitarian aid during the ongoing Syrian crisis, Turkey’s aid for Syrian refugees has been 20 times more than the aid received from international organizations, according to the Prime Ministry Disaster & Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).