While unveiling a report on the situation of Syrian refugees in Turkey on the 10th anniversary of the Syrian civil war, a senior official from the main opposition Republican People's Party said Turkey had granted citizenship to 150,000 Syrians, and criticized the government for notifying it. To whom and why was citizenship granted? Statistics indicate that the Turkish government cares about 10 million Syrians, whether on its lands or abroad, while 100,000 Syrians were born on Turkish lands in the year 2020 only.
The decision to grant citizenship to Syrians in Turkey:
The decision of exceptional Turkish citizenship granted to Syrians was not one of the prevailing Turkish laws before the outbreak of the Syrian crisis and the arrival of Syrians to Turkey, as the laws at that time were limited to granting citizenship to a number of specific cases, the most important of which are:
1- A foreigner holding a work residence permit and residing in Turkey for five years.
2- Investing in Turkey with specific conditions.
3- Buying a property in Turkey at a certain value.
4- Marriage to a Turkish national.
6- Proof of Turkish or Ottoman origins.
With the number of Syrian citizens in Turkey exceeding three and a half million Syrians, most of whom are refugees covered by the protection law, a clear intention has emerged to grant citizenship to a number of Syrians on Turkish territory for resettlement in Turkey. At this stage, the Turkish government initially focused on granting citizenship to university graduates and holders of higher degrees, in addition to businessmen who contribute positively to the Turkish economy.
This decision was a lifeline for many Syrians aspiring to gain more freedom in their movements and investments, which prompted many of them to apply for Turkish citizenship, and many waited for the arrival of a letter asking them to apply for Turkish citizenship with great interest, in order to enjoy its many advantages.
How to obtain Turkish citizenship for Syrians
Because of old decisions and agreements, the doors were closed to the personal ownership of Syrians in Turkey. To date, these decisions are still being worked on, but they were allowed to own by registering the purchased property in the name of a company they own, so they will not be covered by the decision to obtain Turkish citizenship through real estate ownership.
The law allowed Syrians to benefit from other laws that give them the right to apply for and obtain Turkish citizenship, such as investing by depositing $500,000 in a Turkish bank for three years, marrying a Turkish citizen, proving Turkish origin, or by obtaining a work permit for five years.
But the most important way for Syrians to obtain Turkish citizenship, on which Syrians have placed their hopes of obtaining citizenship, is the exceptional citizenship law.
In one of his speeches in 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomed Syrian guests to his country, and expressed the idea of granting citizenship to groups of them, saying: “If the need arises, we will grant Turkish citizenship to the Syrian people. Our ministries are conducting the necessary research in this regard because, among the Syrians there are lawyers, doctors, engineers and nurses, so why not integrate these people into our society so that they can support themselves…”.
Accordingly, many Syrians took the initiative to strengthen their candidacy files for citizenship by registering their data in the relevant departments, as the Turkish authorities took the initiative and chose many files in a way that is sometimes difficult to predict.
Perhaps one of the most important things that Syrians must do to strengthen their files to obtain Turkish citizenship is to register their academic certificates, and to register these certificates in legally approved ways, as the competent authorities are interested in documenting and verifying the certificates and documents submitted to them.
Stages of citizenship for Syrians in Turkey
Syrians in Turkey go through multiple stages of citizenship, as the discussion, explanation and information about these stages differ from one source to another. But there is no doubt that the security study to verify the absence of the criminal record is one of the most important stages of granting Turkish citizenship to Syrians in general, and accordingly a decision is made to grant Turkish citizenship to the candidate or not. Among the most important of these steps in general, which consists of seven stages:
The first stage: registration and approval of the application.
The second stage: Sending the file to the General Directorate concerned with studying the file.
The third stage: a preliminary audit of the file.
The fourth stage: Expanding the stage of checking and archiving and referring the file to the competent authorities for evaluation. This is the most important stage of citizenship and it may take several months before moving on to the fifth stage.
The fifth stage: Entering the file within the list of citizenship approved by the Council of Ministers.
The sixth stage: the stage of deciding on the file.
The seventh stage: Reporting the result through the entity through which the file was applied.
The issue of Turkish citizenship for Syrians and how to obtain it occupies a large part of the interest of Syrian citizens residing in Turkey or abroad as well. Syrians often exchange a lot of true, false and even old information among themselves about citizenship, decisions, and related information.
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