On Thursday, dozens of Syrians in Turkey were to read a message on the Turkish citizenship monitoring website, which removed reference to exceptional citizenship.
The message sparked controversy amongst Syrians on social media. Some expressed shock and disappointment at the move, which coincided with the absence of any Turkish official statement on the matter until Thursday afternoon.
The social media comments focused on the rationale for the decision, even though it would be possible to mobilize lawyers on this issue. And then there are those who believe that today’s “removal” is the beginning of a similar campaign that took place in 2020 when thousands of files were removed.
The answer came from many Syrian refugee specialists, including Turkish writer Celal Demir.
In this context, Demir noted that removing the file does not mean closing the citizenship file once and for all. Rather, it signals the end of administrative proceedings and the beginning of judicial ones.
According to al-Souria Net, most of the removed files have been pending since 2019-2020, with a few of those cases affected having been submitted last year.
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Thousands of Syrians in Turkey, who applied for Turkish citizenship, were surprised at the end of August 2020 to find their files had been deleted from the relevant citizenship system.
This development provoked widespread reactions and resentment from Syrians, especially since most of those with deleted applications had scientific, academic, or professional qualifications. Indeed, most of those affected had reached the fourth stage of the seven-stage naturalization process.
This move opened up questions about the reason for the deletion, as well as how the Turkish government selects citizenship recipients. This is because there are thousands of Syrians who are highly qualified, but have not yet received citizenship.
At the time, the Syrian-Turkish Joint Commission explained that the reason for deleting the files was “how the relevant system works, which has been in place for some time; this is where the regime automatically drops files that have been underway for over 24 months.”
Turkey grants “exceptional citizenship” to Syrians nominated by the Interior Ministry. The naturalization process goes through several stages before obtaining citizenship. There is no specific period of time for obtaining citizenship.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.