The practice of denying residence permits to foreigners, which was implemented in 10 districts across Istanbul, has spread to 39 districts.
Accordingly, the Turkish Interior Ministry will no longer grant a residence permit to foreigners except in “compulsory cases such as life safety, health, education and international trade,” according to reporting by the daily Milliyet. The implementation will be valid until further notice.
According to the 2022 data of the Presidency, 5.4 million foreigners are living in Turkey, of whom 1.2 million are residing in Istanbul, which make up 8% of the megacity’s population. Of this number, 535,025 are Syrian refugees.
As of October 2022, the Interior Ministry had closed 10 Istanbul districts to foreigners who want to get residence permits, and now this regulation will cover all districts of the megacity.
On his return from the NATO summit in Vilnius, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had said, “Our citizens will soon feel the visible changes undertaken in the issue of irregular migration.”
On July 14, Interior Minister Yerlikaya similarly signalled a tougher stance against migration, tweeting that two different police operations had led to the detention of 18 people on charges of smuggling migrants.
These statements and moves come as Turkey is preparing for local elections scheduled for March 2024 and amid the growing negative public attitude toward refugees.