Turkey is hosting 4.8 million foreign nationals: official data

There are a total of 4,893,752 foreigners in Turkey, including both refugees and migrants, Turkish Minute reported, citing data from the Presidency of Migration Management.

A statement from the agency said the registration of new foreigners has been halted in 1,169 neighborhoods across the country where the population of foreign nationals has exceeded 20 percent of the local population.

In İstanbul, 54 such neighborhoods are no longer registering foreign citizens.

The goal of the measure is to more effectively meet the social and infrastructure needs of people in areas with a large population of foreign citizens.

The statement also said conflicting figures about the number of the foreign nationals in Turkey are misleading, adding that the country’s fight against illegal migration is continuing.

Turkey hosts the largest refugee population in the world, with nearly 3.6 million individuals seeking shelter, according to the latest global trends report released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in May.

Refugees in Turkey are frequently targeted by Turkish politicians, who hold them responsible for the social and economic problems in the country. The anti-Syrian rhetoric has gained momentum, especially during the May 14 elections and the May 28 presidential runoff.

Some far-right parties and Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Turkey’s main opposition leader and the joint presidential candidate of an opposition bloc of parties, promised to send the Syrian refugees back to Syria.

Kılıçdaroğlu lost the election to incumbent president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a runoff vote on May 28.

Critics of Erdoğan’s open door policy for refugees accuse him of seeing the Syrian refugees, some of whom acquired Turkish citizenship, as source of support for him in the elections.

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