Millions of refugees fleeing the conflict in their homeland have crossed the Turkish border to safety. They have much to offer the nation, as they make use of their knowledge and skills to provide for their families, while enriching the Turkish society with their culture. In time to come, many Syrian and Iraqi refugees will be able to gain Turkish citizenship and add their own unique touch to whatever it is that they do, whether they are working in a kebab shop or as an engineer.

Turkish president announces screening process for refugees to obtain Turkish citizenship

On January 6, Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that refugees will be able to undergo screening to determine whether they qualify to become a citizen of the Republic of Turkey. The screening methods will also require individuals to have a clean criminal record. The process aims to select candidates for citizenship depending on their qualifications.

Refugees will have more promising career opportunities

Many refugees are well-educated in the fields of engineering, law, and medicine, and have excellent English language skills. In gaining their Turkish citizenship they should have more opportunities to work legally and become more established, reducing the number of migrants into European countries.

Opposition parties question Erdogan's intentions

When Erdogan first mentioned the process in July 2016, opposition parties questioned his intentions, seeing it as a means for the president to strengthen his political campaign in the 2019 Turkish elections. Many agree that once refugees claim their Turkish citizenship, they will have a drastic effect on the outcome of the results.

Furthermore, Turkey has received millions from the European Union for hosting refugees. Erdogan stated that Turkey’s interior ministry is handling the matter, but has not confirmed how many refugees will be granted citizenship, or how soon the screening process will begin.

Citizenship process a benefit for refugees

Hopefully, the citizenship process will serve to benefit the lives of refugees and their families. The current number of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Turkey exceeds 3 million, and many are still in need.