The U.N. refugee agency has 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 U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (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 hosts the largest number of refugees - more than 3 million - from neighboring Syria. It 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 the tent camps. As the conflict in Syria escalated, Turkey stepped up its advocacy for the establishment of safe zones within Syria, to accommodate those who took shelter abroad as well as the internally displaced Syrians. Turkey is both a transit and final destination for migrants, particularly from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Congo, Bangladesh, Somalia and the Palestinian territories. It is also favored by illegal immigrants seeking jobs, and mostly Moldovan, Ukrainian, Romanian and Georgian nationals prefer it for jobs as undocumented workers. It hosts more than 8,100 centers for migrants pending repatriation and aims to increase it to more than 15,000.