Turkish opposition calls for referendum on citizenship to Syrian refugees

By bne IntelliNews July 13, 2016

Turkey’s opposition has called on the ruling party to put a controversial government plan to grant citizenship to nearly 3mn Syrian refugees to a referendum amid media reports suggesting social tension between locals and refugees is increasing.

The leader of the main opposition party CHP, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, criticised President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who first floated the idea of granting citizenship, pointing to potential security and social risks. According to Kilicdaroglu, it would be difficult to identify terrorists among such a large group of people. Syria is the hotbed of Islamic State which has carried out a number of bomb attacks in Turkey since last summer, killing scores of people. “Ghettos will be formed in big cities and this will cause tension,” Kilicdaroglu said, according to Hurriyet Daily News.

Over the past couple of weeks, confrontations between local residents and Syrian refugees in the central Anatolian town of Beysehir and the southeastern city of Urfa left two people dead and at least four other wounded. Urfa, a city with a population of nearly 2mn close to the Syrian border, hosts more than 400,000 refugees. In a similar incident in the western city of Izmir, that is home to 90,000 refugees, two local residents were stabbed following a street fight with Syrian refugees on July 12.

Echoing some concerns of Kilicdaroglu, the co-chair of the Kurdish party HDP Selahattin Demirtas warned that Erdogan’s plans may ignite further racism. Demirtas also questioned the political motive behind the proposal. “They [Erdogan and ruling AKP] are using Syrians as a tool of domestic politics,” said Demirtas, according to the Hurriyet Daily News.

Turkey’s opposition parties believe Erdogan seeks to bolster support attracting the votes of Syrian refugees. Only qualified and educated Syrian refugees will be offered Turkish citizenship, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on July 11.

 A March survey by polling company Metropoll showed that 83% of Turks are against granting citizenship to Syrians, underlining the difficulty for Erdogan to sell the idea to the public.

Related Articles

Richest Turkish families sell conglomerate shares for more than €500mn

Members of families that own Turkey’s two biggest groups of companies sold stakes in their respective groups for a combined sum of more than €500mn as the benchmark Turkish stock exchange index ... more

Turkey's Erdogan renews attack on high interest rates as tool of exploitation

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on May 24 returned to one of his well-worn favourite themes, renewing his attack on high interest rates. “I clearly say this: I see high interest rates ... more

More arrest warrants issued in Turkey as Erdogan continues to rule by decree

Turkey, which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to govern under an indefinite state of emergency which allows him to rule by decree, on May 24 issued more arrest warrants for people allegedly ... more

Register here to continue reading this article and 2 more for free or purchase 12 months full website access including the bne Magazine for just $119/year.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

To continue viewing our content you need to complete the registration process.

Please look for an email that was sent to with the subject line "Confirmation bne IntelliNews access". This email will have instructions on how to complete registration process. Please check in your "Junk" folder in case this communication was misdirected in your email system.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and magazine

Subscribe to bne IntelliNews website and monthly magazine, the leading source of business, economic and financial news and commentary in emerging markets.

Your subscription includes:
  • Full access to the bne content daily news and features on the website
  • Newsletters direct to your mailbox
  • Print and digital subscription to the monthly bne magazine
  • Digital subscription to the weekly bne newspaper

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

bne IntelliNews
$119 per year

All prices are in US dollars net of applicable taxes.

If you have any questions please contact us at sales@intellinews.com

Register for free to read bne IntelliNews Magazine. You'll receive a free digital subscription.

Already a subscriber or registered - click here to recover access.

If you a IntelliNews Pro user - click here to login.

Thank you. Please complete your registration by confirming your email address.
A confirmation email has been sent to the email address you provided.

IntelliNews Pro offers daily news updates delivered to your inbox and in-depth data reports.
Get the emerging markets newswire that financial professionals trust.

"No day starts for my team without IntelliNews Pro" — UBS

Thank-you for requesting an IntelliNews Pro trial. Our team will be in contact with you shortly.

Dismiss