Over 16,000 irregular migrants in Istanbul have been sent to repatriation centers in other provinces of Turkey in the past 1.5 months, the governorship said yesterday. In a written statement, the governorship of Istanbul said a total of 16,423 irregular migrants were sent from the city between July 12 and Aug. 25 and that their repatriation processes are ongoing.
Some 4,500 unregistered Syrians in Istanbul were also referred to temporary refugee centers in other provinces. Syrians registered in other provinces are also leaving, the statement added.
Turkey last week extended the deadline until Oct. 30 for unregistered Syrians in Istanbul to leave the city and go to the provinces where they were first registered.
New registrations in the city are not allowed, but there are some exceptions for individuals who continue their education in the city, those who legally provide employment, and people whose treatment in the city is ongoing. Last month, the Istanbul Governorate issued a statement saying that Syrian nationals that have not been registered by the government or those that were registered elsewhere in Turkey will be transferred to provinces determined by the Interior Ministry.
The statement said there are 1,069,860 registered foreigners in Istanbul, made up of 522,381 foreigners with residence permits and 547,479 Syrians under temporary protection status. This constitutes one-fifteenth of the population of Turkey's economic and cultural center, as Turkish Statistical Institute (Turkstat) figures as of December 2018 put the megacity's population at 15,029,231.
Syrians without temporary protection status and without registry and proper identification are being transferred to determined provinces according to a directive of the Ministry of Interior, the statement said, adding that Istanbul is closed to further registration for temporary protection status.
"Those who were found to have not returned will be transferred to the provinces where they are registered according to the Ministry of Interior directive," the statement said. It noted that monitoring for travel permission documents will be carried out continuously at all bus stations, train stations, airports and all other means of transportation throughout Istanbul, and Syrian guests under temporary protection status without proper travel documentation will be returned to the provinces in which they are registered.