Turkey - Rights protesting the government's demand that the Syrians leave Istanbul | News -

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Turkish rights groups organized a protest in Istanbul on Saturday (27 July 2019) in solidarity with Syrian refugees following the government's announcement earlier this week that Syrians would be moved out of the city if they were not officially registered.

The governor of Istanbul gave unregistered Syrian refugees last Monday, until 20 August, to leave or return them to the Turkish city, where they were first registered. The decision was supported by the country's interior ministry.

Turkish media reported that some Syrians were being deported out of the country, and some were being deported to areas of conflict such as Idlib in Syria.

About 100 human rights activists joined the protest in Istanbul with banners reading "No to Suppress the Refugees" and "Racism". The protest was confused by a group carrying Turkish flags and national slogans. The group then dispersed the group, while anti-refugee slogans continued to circulate.

"Publications that raise hatred against the Syrians"

Radwan Kaya, head of Istanbul-based rights group Ozgur-der, said the government's policy of moving people from one place to another was wrong and unjustified. Kaya warned that there had been news and publications on social media that "incite hatred against the Syrian brothers."

Anti-Syrian sentiments were already strong on Turkish social media on Saturday. There was a marking (Hastag) in Turkish is "îsuriyelileriistemiyoruz" meaning "we do not want Syrians" of the most traded on Twitter in Turkey.

In recent weeks, media reported sporadic clashes between Syrians and Turks in Istanbul amid growing resentment of refugees in an economic crisis.

Turkey hosts 3.6 million refugees from Syria, with over half a million registered in Istanbul. While estimates of immigration experts indicate the presence of another 300,000 Syrians residing in Istanbul, many of whom are registered elsewhere.


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