Turkish social media campaign seeks to prohibit Syrian dual citizens from voting
Turkish social media users have launched a highly discriminatory campaign against the voting rights of Turkish citizens from Syrian ethnic backgrounds
By News Desk - July 19 2022

Schoolgirls participate in Arabic-language classes at a camp for Syrian refugees in Yayladagi, Turkey in 2013. (Photo credit: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)

Turkish media has reported that the fate of Syrian refugees – including those who have dual citizenship and can vote in the upcoming 2023 elections – is uncertain.

Hostile public sentiments in Turkey towards Syrians residing in the country have recently been on the rise.

Turkish social media users have launched a highly discriminatory campaign against the voting rights of Turkish citizens from Syrian ethnic backgrounds, using the hashtag “#SuriyelilerOyKullanmasın” (Syrians Do Not Vote) on Twitter.

The hashtag came in fourth place on trending Twitter hashtags among Turkish users.

Public campaigns are seeking to strip the voting rights of Syrians holding Turkish citizenship and to pressure the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) into accepting their demands.

The AKP may face challenges in the 2023 elections, due to the  unprecedented inflation of the Turkish lira.

As well as removing the voting rights of Syrian dual citizens, the campaigns include the call for massive deportations of Syrians from Turkey, including those who are legal residents.

Of the 3,700,000 Syrians who reside in Turkey, only 195,000 carry Turkish citizenship.

Campaigns have also included attacks on the Arabic language, after Arabic-language instruction videos on how to vote in elections were distributed.

Turkey was one of the principal backers in the foreign-backed insurgency against the Syrian government which began in 2011 and grew into a fully fledged war to oust the elected government in Damascus.

Turkey continues to support various Al-Qaeda linked militant groups in Syria today.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov once told his Turkish counterpart in 2015 that Ankara was involved in illegal oil trading with ISIS.

Complicit in this trade was Bilal Erdogan, the son of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey has also been a safe haven for the leaders of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the former Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda.

The leaders of various Turkish-backed Takfiri armed groups in control of Syria’s Idlib governorate, including HTS, have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Turkey by seizing humanitarian aid shipments before selling them on the black  market.

According to an exclusive report by Sputnik Arabic, the leaders of HTS have enriched themselves by stealing international aid intended to ease the humanitarian crisis in Syria’s rebel-controlled northern region, where the extreme poverty rate stands at 97 percent.

The Syrian refugee crisis is a direct result of the destabilization that took place following the foreign-backed armed uprising in 2011.

A plan for Turkey and Jordan to facilitate the voluntary return of Syrian refugees was discussed by the foreign ministers of both countries on 2 March during a bilateral meeting in Ankara.

“We will continue our cooperation with international institutions such as the United Nations and the Organization for Islamic Cooperation,” Turkey’s top diplomats told reporters.

On 5 April 2021, the Russian-Syrian interdepartmental coordination headquarters issued a joint statement accusing the US of intentionally setting up obstacles for the return of Syrian refugees to their country.

A recent investigation by The Cradle into the plight of Syrian refugees reveals that their tragic circumstances have been exploited for political gain.

“After the catastrophic 2019 economic collapse of the country, nine out of ten Syrian refugees fell below the extreme poverty line, with half of these suffering from food insecurity,” the investigation notes.

Most Popular