On Friday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of Turkey, announced that some Syrian and Iraqi refugees will be given Turkish citizenship. In a speech, which was broadcast on television, Erdogan said that security checks would be carried out to determine which refugees are eligible for citizenship. He emphasized the qualifications that some of these refugees hold, stating that “instead of letting them work illegally here and there, let’s give them the chance to work as citizens like the children of this nation.” Erdogan stated that the Interior Ministry is ready to implement this process, but did not give further details and failed to state how many of these refugees would gain Turkish nationality. Instead, Erdogan made it clear that those refugees who were deemed to have useful qualifications have the chance to gain citizenship, providing that they pass security checks.
According to Turkish government figures, the country currently hosts more than three million Syrians and Iraqi refugees. Like much of Europe, Turkey has faced significant challenges due to the increase in refugees fleeing conflicts in the Middle East. Previous solutions to combat these challenges were met with significant debate and controversy. Last year, Erdogan outlined a naturalization plan, which caused protests on social media. Many of the country’s political opposition saw this plan as a way for Erdogan to widen his electoral basis at a time when he was pushing for constitutional reform, which would strengthen his powers. However, this latest plan has yet to receive significant criticism.
For the past few years, the world has been experiencing a global refugee crisis. An increase in individuals fleeing conflicts occurring in the Middle East, such as the Syrian conflict, has caused significant challenges for many countries. This crisis has largely been focused on Europe and its response to the influx of refugees. Many countries in this region have developed resettlement plans and other solutions to the refugee crisis, but these plans are slow moving and have only been able to resettle a small percentage of the refugee population. On top of this, refugee boat accidents have increased in the past year because refugees are seeking alternative places to resettle.
Erdogan’s newest plan will be able to resettle more refugees into permanent homes. While this plan will be selective and focus on a small percentage of the refugee population, it is a better action than doing nothing. Within the refugee populations, there are individuals who are qualified as doctors, engineers, and other skill sets, which can have a positive effect on the host country. By utilizing these skills, the host country can improve its economy, amongst other things. On the individual level, this plan can have a positive impact on the refugees who are selected. Citizenship will give these individuals a permanent place to settle and will also enable them to use their skills. Erdogan has outlined a plan, which not only addresses Turkey’s security fears but also allows some of the refugee population an opportunity to settle permanently in Turkey, thus addressing some of their insecurities.
Only time will tell if this plan is successful. If it is, it should be used as inspiration for other countries facing these refugee challenges.
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