Erdogan offers citizenship to Syrian and Iraqi refugees

President Erdogan says some refugees who pass screenings will be granted nationality to "make use" of their skills.

    Erdogan offers citizenship to Syrian and Iraqi refugees
    Turkey hosts more than three million refugees, mostly from Syria [AP]

    Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that some Syrian and Iraqi refugees who pass a screening process will be granted Turkish citizenship.

    In a speech broadcast on television on Friday, Erdogan said that security checks would be carried out to determine who among the millions who fled war in their home countries were eligible for citizenship.

    "Our interior ministry is carrying out work, and under this work, some of them will be granted our nationality after all the necessary checks have been carried out," he said.

    "There are highly qualified people among them, there are engineers, lawyers, doctors. Let's make use of that talent ... Instead of letting them work illegally here and there, let's give them the chance to work as citizens like the children of this nation."


    READ MORE: Reports of Turkey border guards killing Syrians denied


    Erdogan added that the interior ministry "is ready to implement the measure at any time". But he gave no further details, notably about how many would gain Turkish nationality.

    According to Turkish government figures, the country is hosting more than three million Syrians and Iraqis who have fled conflict.

    The Turkish leader outlined a naturalisation plan last summer but the idea was met with angry protests and xenophobic comments on social media.

    The country's political opposition saw the plan as a scheme to widen Erdogan's electoral basis at a time when he is pushing for constitutional reform to strengthen his powers.

     WATCH: Should Turkey grant citizenship to Syrian refugees? (2:30)

    SOURCE: News agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Unification: Saladin and the Fall of Jerusalem

    Unification: Saladin and the Fall of Jerusalem

    We explore how Salah Ed-Din unified the Muslim states and recaptured the holy city of Jerusalem from the crusaders.