Istanbul expels nearly 21,000 migrants in less than two months

Turkey on map
Turkey on map

More than 20,000 illegal migrants, including Syrians, have been expelled from Istanbul since mid-July, the governor’s office said on Tuesday.

A total of 16,423 “illegal migrants, who arrived via irregular migration’’ were relocated to other cities pending deportation, between July 12 and August 25.

Separately, a total of 4,500 unregistered Syrians were sent to refugee camps outside the city, the office added.

The move comes as part of a government plan to relocate Syrians, who are registered elsewhere in the country from Turkey’s largest city and financial hub Istanbul.

Syrian refugees are under temporary protection in Turkey, but the authorities have recently tightened security measures against them amid a financial crisis as well as growing public resentment.

Syrians in Istanbul have until October 30 to leave or be sent back to the Turkish city where they were first registered, the governor’s office said.

The deadline was earlier extended from August 20.

Primary school students and their families, orphans, employers and university students are exempt from the relocation programme, the office added.

Turkey is home to the largest refugee population in the world.

It hosts four million refugees, including 3.6 million from Syria.

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More than half a million Syrians are registered in Istanbul, while another 300,000 Syrians registered elsewhere are estimated to live in the city. (dpa/NAN)

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