Skip to main content

Turkey’s quota plan for refugees alarms rights activists

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu is advocating quotas for foreigners to prevent ghettos and clashes, but activists worry relocations would cut vulnerable refugees' access to work and services.
OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images

A plan by the Turkish Interior Ministry to limit the number of foreigners living in neighborhoods across Turkey has angered rights activists, who lambast the move as a sign of brewing anti-immigrant sentiment as Turkey heads to elections.

Suleyman Soylu, Turkey’s iron-fisted interior minister, told journalists last week that 16 provinces have been closed to new foreign residents, including districts in Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir. “If the number of foreigners in a neighborhood exceeds 25%, we will send them to other neighborhoods,” he said, adding that implementation had already started on a voluntary basis. Though Soylu used the generic term for “foreigner,” he was clearly referring to Syrians under temporary protection and other asylum seekers from the Middle East and Africa.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.