New board to formulate Turkey’s immigration strategy

DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
ISTANBUL
Published

The Interior Ministry has established a new board to design Turkey's immigration strategy.

The formation of the new board was confirmed yesterday in a new presidential decree published on the Official Gazette. Turkey has seen an influx of migrants and refugees, particularly after the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011. It currently hosts nearly 3.5 million Syrian refugees.

The new body would design, coordinate and follow up the application of the country's immigration policy. It will be led by the Interior Minister and include representatives from the ministry. Recently, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) handed over the management of registration procedures for the refugees in Turkey to the country's migration authority. Turkey's Directorate General of Migration Management itself will now oversee the registration of refugees and determine their status. Any foreigner seeking international protection in Turkey will now have to apply to the local offices of the Turkish migration authority.

The move comes after the Directorate General boosted its capacity in the four years after it was established, amid a surge in the number of refugees from war-torn Syria.

The UNHCR will continue to cooperate with Turkey and offer consultation in the handling of refugee issues and resettlement of refugees in Turkey and European Union countries.

Turkey has been hailed by the international community for its exemplary treatment of refugees. The country has spent some $30 billion for the refugees living in and outside tent camps. Turkey is both a transit point and final destination for migrants, particularly from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Congo, Bangladesh, Somalia and the Palestinian territories.

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