Syrian refugees to be given identity cards and work permits in Turkey

Today’s Zaman reports: The government is preparing to issue identity cards and work permits to Syrian refugees who have fled the civil war ravaging their country and sought shelter in Turkey, Minister of Employment and Social Security Faruk Çelik announced on Wednesday.

Speaking at a meeting, attended by several government ministers, to announce the new Medium-term Economic Plan (OVP), Çelik stated that Syrian refugees will be given identity cards “defining their status,” and they will also be granted work permits, prompting discussions as to whether the refugees will have equal rights with Turkish citizens.

Though the minister did not give further details of the government-initiated plan for the refugees, whose numbers are estimated to be already approaching 2 million, lawyer Eda Bekçi, head of the Association for Solidarity with Refugees (Mülteci-Der), told Today’s Zaman that the government should conduct research to track and monitor the refugees as well as easing any difficulties they have faced in society since arriving in Turkey.

In April 2014, the government adopted a new law on foreigners and international protection in Parliament, which was approved by then-President Abdullah Gül. According to the law, foreigners and those who have international protection cannot be sent back to places where they could be subject to torture, inhumane treatment or humiliating punishment or where they will be threatened because of their race, religion or membership of a certain group. [Continue reading…]

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