ISTANBUL, Turkey - (North Press) - The Naturalization Department in Turkey stipulated that Syrians wishing to obtain exceptional citizenship through the purchase of a property or a bank deposit must certify all their documents from the Syrian Consulate and its Foreign Ministry in Syria, which some jurists and activists concerned with Syrian refugees' affairs have described as a new complication added to the struggles of Syrians in the country.
One lawyer working for a Turkish law firm, a Damascus native residing in Istanbul, said the Naturalization Department requires the approval of the Syrian Foreign Ministry and the consulate on any paper submitted for naturalization.
A number of Syrian refugees expressed their shock at this decision, noting that it came instead of providing facilities for those who want to buy real estate or invest their money in Turkey.
Latakia native Omar Habib said that he wants to buy property in Turkey for one of his relatives, but is unable to do so. “Turkey knows the extent of the difficulties and complications if we want to go to the regime consulate to authenticate our documents, regardless of the time and long wait; this time the Turkish government is not successful with this decision,” he told North Press.
Discrepancy and confusion
This decision clarifies the state of inconsistency and confusion regarding ill-considered decisions from the Turkish government - President Recep Tayyip Erdogan always calls for special attention to be paid to investors and capital owners, and to lure them with facilities in case they want to obtain exceptional citizenship by buying real estate or making investments.
Syrian activists accused Turkey of wanting “to support its collapsed treasury (the Syrian regime) after the issuance of the US Penal Code (the Caesar Act)."
Human rights activist Ali al-Okdah told North Press that the certification of documents from the Syrian consulate is considered a pro-Syrian government decision, because the consulate charges certification fees in dollars. Al-Okdah finds this surprising in terms of Turkey's acceptance of this matter, and it calls for boycotting the regime."
Lawyer Amjad Tabaa, a Damascus native living in Istanbul, told North Press that in the past, any person who wanted to obtain exceptional citizenship through buying property or through a bank deposit who was Syrian or Syrian-Palestinian must have papers issued from Syria. This person was not required to authenticate the papers, neither from the Syrian consulate nor from the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Tabaa added, “we went to the Naturalization Department recently to hand over a file for a Syrian-Palestinian person with his wife and children. However, the Naturalization Department surprised us; there are new instructions that all documents issued from Syria, such as birth certificates and others, should be certified by the consulate and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Syrian regime.”
"When we wanted them to clarify the matter and explained to them that this decision obstructs the process instead of facilitating it, and that these requests did not exist in the past, especially since the Syrians were not covered by this matter, the answer was ‘this is what we have, and you should find a solution or adhere to the instructions.’”
"When we asked them for a copy of the decision, they answered that it is not available, and the instructions were given to them from the administration directly,” he added.
Turkey is home to about four million Syrian refugees, 92,280 of whom obtained the Turkish citizenship after staying in the naturalization stages for one or two years, according to the statements of the Immigration and Passports Department and the Turkish Ministry of Interior, while the Turkish government allowed those of any nationality who buy any property worth $250,000 to obtain Turkish citizenship within 30 days.