Erdogan notes skills among Syrians as he proposes path to citizenship

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that he wants to grant citizenship to some Syrian refugees in the country, noting that some are highly qualified individuals.

So far, citizenship has been out of reach for most of the more than 2.7 million Syrians who came to Turkey since the start of the civil war in 2011. Most Syrians still lack work permits, despite a change to legislation earlier in the year.

In a speech in Istanbul and in comments to reporters, Erdogan warned that Turkey risks losing "skilled" Syrians to Western nations taking in refugees.

A government official confirmed there would be criteria for gaining Turkish citizenship, but these have yet to be defined.

Erdogan introduced the idea of granting citizenship on Saturday while visiting a refugee camp along the border. Just over 10 per cent of Syrians in Turkey live in camps.

Public opinion polls earlier this year showed an overwhelming number of Turks - up to four in five people surveyed in one poll - oppose the idea of granting citizenship.

Last update: Tue, 05/07/2016 - 19:07
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