While the Turkish government denies claims that it is deporting Syrian refugees and says it only allows voluntary returns, Deutsche Welle Turkish service spoke to several Syrians who were deported to Syria and claimed to have been misled or mistreated by Turkish authorities during the process.
Two of those interviewed said they were apprehended in İstanbul during ID checks on the streets and bussed back to Syria. They claimed officials reassured them and others that they were not being deported and that they were only going to a location where they would receive their IDs.
They were previously unable to obtain IDs despite applying to local authorities who schedule appointments unreasonably far into the future. To speed up their procedures, they can turn to “mediators,” an informal remedy by which people offer to help facilitate official transactions in exchange for hefty fees.
Another one was reportedly sent back despite having left his ID at home. He said he attempted to cross the border again but was stopped, violently on one occasion.
The İstanbul Governor’s Office recently ordered unregistered Syrians to leave the city and return to provinces where they are registered by Aug. 20. It also announced that 2,630 Syrians who were not registered anywhere in Turkey were sent to temporary shelters.
Turkey denied recent claims that it began deporting Syrian refugees and said those who returned did so voluntarily.
“It’s not legally possible to take the decision to deport Syrians due to the current situation in Syria,” said Abdullah Ayaz, head of the migration department at the Interior Ministry last week.
Several reports, however, claimed that some Syrians were forced to sign voluntary return forms.
According to Turkish officials, Turkey has granted citizenship to more than 92,000 Syrians including children. (SCF with turkishminute.com)