An additional water and solid waste tax 10 times the normal tax will be imposed on migrants, said Bolu Mayor Tanju Özcan, in an apparent anti-migrant move, T24 news website reported.
Expressing discomfort with the migrant population in the province, Özcan, from Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said he would take new steps against them. “We cut their benefits and stopped giving them business licenses to open shops, but they didn’t leave,” he said during a meeting at city hall. “The city council will meet next week, and we will discuss raising their taxes.”
According to Özcan, migrants will not be able to use water or benefit from city services at the same rate as a Turkish citizen. “We are imposing extra taxes so that these people leave,” said Özcan. “We have hosted them long enough. I believe we should just send them back where they came from, but I don’t have the authority to force them out.”
Özcan said he did not care if he was called a fascist or if he was sued by the migrants. He added that he stood by his words and would carry out his decision.
There has recently been an increase in hate speech against migrants with a new wave of arrivals from Afghanistan. Prominent people who have publicly welcomed migrants have been targeted and called traitors.
Refugees in Turkey have been increasingly targeted by hate speech and hate crimes and are blamed for many of Turkey’s social and economic troubles.
Anti-migrant sentiment has also been expressed by opposition politicians. CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has promised to send Syrians who took refuge in Turkey fleeing the civil war in their homeland back to Syria if his party comes to power
Turkish authorities have been detaining migrants at the eastern border in an attempt to stop undocumented entries to the country. Moreover, Turkey has been making progress in its plan to build a wall on its Iranian border in an effort to prevent illegal crossings, migrant trafficking and smuggling activities.
According to UNHCR Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees worldwide. The country is currently home to some 3.6 million registered Syrian refugees along with close to 320,000 persons of concern from other nationalities.