Gov't masking data on actual number of Syrian refugees in Turkey - opposition MP

Turkey is hosting around 5 million Syrian refugees, over 1 million more than the official figure, and faulty government policies on the group have led to chaos, opposition lawmaker Fethi Açıkel said on Sunday.

The government has failed to update figures of Syrians in Turkey or provide clarity on the 150,000 who have been granted citizenship, Cumhuriyet newspaper cited the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker as saying.

Turkey is by far the world’s biggest refugee host nation. The country is home to some 3.7 Syrian refugees, 110,000 of who have been granted Turkish citizenship, according to official data from the interior ministry.

The number of Syrians in the country has remained the same for four years, despite the fact that in 2020 alone, 100,000 Syrian babies were born in Turkey, according to Açıkel.

In addition to the almost 5 million Syrians inside the country, Turkey is also taking care of another 5 million Syrians in the war-torn neighbouring country, he said, which means that “Turkish taxpayers are taking care of around 10 million Syrians.’’

Açıkel also touched on what he referred to as terrorismstemming from Syria, saying it had a serious affect on Turkey’s national security, “causing many terrorist attacks in our cities, resulting in the death of hundreds of our citizens.”

Turkey was rocked by a string of terrorist attacks between 2015 and 2017, claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS). Critics accused the government of failing to wage an effective fight against the armed group and controlling its border with then ISIS-controlled Syria.