Over 193,000 Syrian refugees have become Turkish citizens until this year, Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has announced.
Speaking to reporters in the capital Ankara on February 19, Soylu stated that “So far until December 2021, a total of 193,293 Syrians, including 84,152 children, have become Turkish citizens. This figure includes those who were granted citizenship before 2021.”
He further reiterated that around 3.7 million Syrians live in Turkey under international protection as refugees, and that more than 700,000 Syrian children have been born in the country as a result.
Soylu also pointed out Europe’s continued lack of responsibility in dealing with the huge influx of refugees throughout the ongoing Syrian civil war.
The minister did not hesitate to bring up statistics about the crime rate reportedly committed by some of the Syrian refugees in the country, saying that 37,000 were involved in crimes in 2020, followed by 50,231 last year.
He particularly referred to the incident that took place in Ankara’s Altindag district last year, in which a fight broke out between local Turks and Syrian refugees, resulting in a young Turkish man being stabbed to death. Following that incident, Soylu said, around 4,500 people were transferred to other locations and 309 idle buildings were demolished in the district.
The stabbing – as well as other crimes and controversies allegedly committed throughout the years – has sharply increased the discontent many Turks feel towards them, leading to a spate of hate crimes targeting Syrians in the country.