Turkey Targets INGO Workers and Foreign University Staff, Students

Via Syria Untold – The legal status of Syrians seeking asylum in Turkey is extremely precarious, despite Turkey being a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, and host to the largest number of Syrian refugees. This can be attributed to Turkey’s Temporary Protection Regulation, which does not grant them full refugee status, and the 2015 deal with the European Union.

There are over 3 million Syrians living in these obscure legal conditions which recently took an ugly turn under newly imposed martial laws, as the Turkish government started a harsh crackdown on dissidence in the aftermath of the failed coup in July 2016.

The crackdown has employed a seemingly random logic, affecting those beyond the ‘usual suspects’ (i.e., Kurdish activists and the Gülen Movement, which was accused of plotting the putsch) to reach anyone that could be remotely affiliated with them. Consequently, Syrian refugees and residents were affected alike.

The targets of these repressive measures have included INGOs, and their foreign and Syria staff, working to deliver international aid to Syrians in Turkey and in northern Syria, and especially those active in Kurdish-controlled areas.

However, the crackdown has even reached foreign university students who are apparently not affiliated with any international activities. These students now face deportation despite their residence permits…

The text continues analysing several possible reasons for this crackdown and retells the story of Fadel, a Syrian university teacher based in Gaziantep, who was arrested and taken to an EU-funded reception center for refugees, which was turned into a detention and deportation center when he tried to renew his residence permit. He witnessed cases of brutal and inhumane treatment against other Syrians. After he signed a one-year-ban from Turkey he was deported to Malaysia.

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