During summer 2016 the Turkish government first announced to grant Turkish citizenship to some Syrians. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said that the first steps have been taking on providing Turkish citizenship to Syrians. In a first stage 30.000 to 40.000 would be granted citizenship, in a move that could grant a total of 300.000 Syrians citizenship.
Syrians need to fulfill certain criteria like having lived in Turkey for at least five years, knowledge of the Turkish language at sufficient level, a clean criminal record and ‘fitting into social harmony and public order‘, before they can apply at the General Directorate of Immigration of the Ministry of Interior for citizenship.
Erdoğan, attending a mass opening ceremony in Şanlıurfa last January, said: “There are very well-educated people among Syrians and Iraqis. There are engineers, lawyers and doctors. Let’s benefit from them. Rather than working illegally in bad jobs, let’s make them work as a son of this nation”
In August 2017, already 120.000 Syrians had applied for citizenship at the Migration Administration of the Ministry of Interior, of which only 7.000 applications had been opened back then.
In November 2017, Ahmet Sarıcan, General Director of Population and Citizenship Affairs of the Ministry of Interior, reported that the number of Syrian citizens who were granted Turkish citizenship in the last 10 years is around 12.000.