Turkish Migration Department Denies Transferring 600,000 Syrians to Istanbul

Syrian survivors of the earthquake at a crossing point on the Turkish-Syrian border. (EPA)
Syrian survivors of the earthquake at a crossing point on the Turkish-Syrian border. (EPA)
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Turkish Migration Department Denies Transferring 600,000 Syrians to Istanbul

Syrian survivors of the earthquake at a crossing point on the Turkish-Syrian border. (EPA)
Syrian survivors of the earthquake at a crossing point on the Turkish-Syrian border. (EPA)

The Turkish Migration Management denied allegations that 600,000 Syrians were transferred from earthquake-stricken regions in the country’s south, east and southeast to Istanbul.

It also denied that the cost of their transport was covered by official authorities, while Turkish citizens had to pay for public transportation.

It stressed that these claims, which were made during a morning show, were unfounded and irresponsible and aimed at incitement and provocation and creating a negative perception of foreigners in Türkiye.

It rejected claims against state institutions and ngos that have been working to aid the victims of the earthquake, stressing that the Migration Management was working around the clock to help those in need.

Moreover, it said it rejects false allegations that put the Department workers under suspicion simply because they are carrying out their responsibilities.

The media, it urged, should turn to official institutions to obtain verified information.

On Wednesday, head of the Victory Party Umit Ozdag, who is known for his opposition to Syrians and foreigners in Türkiye, alleged during an interview with Turkish Fox channel that the Migration Management had exempted Syrians from paying for their transportation.

He claimed that sources from the Management had informed him that 600,000 Syrians were allowed to move to Istanbul, while Turkish citizens remains in stricken region.

He did not reveal his sources, but identified one as an academic whose students work at the Migration Management.

Moreover, Ozdag said his party was not satisfied with the government’s policy towards the Syrians. He added that if ballot boxes were placed at the Management, 84 percent of its workers would vote in favor of his party.

Ozdag had previously claimed that Syrians were robbing shops and homes in the earthquake-stricken region. His allegations were refuted.

A public prosecutor in Türkiye filed a lawsuit against Ozdag after he posted a picture of a young man carrying a phone in the earthquake areas, claiming he was a Syrian who had stolen phones from destroyed houses.

The young man later appeared on local media and showed his Turkish identity, explaining that he was a volunteer worker. He filed an official complaint against Ozdag for defaming him on social media.

Meanwhile, the Syrian-Turkish Committee previously announced that the Migration Management canceled the travel permits of Syrians holding a temporary card in the states hit by the earthquake for a specified period.

The permits allow them to visit various states except for Istanbul. They must obtain 90-day permits from the Migration Management after arriving in states other than the ones in which they are registered.

Syrians were also required to specify why they visited other states and prove they had relatives there. Migrants traveling between states without obtaining permission will have to pay fines and might face the possibility of having their permits revoked.

More than 500,000 Syrians live in Istanbul, out of about 3.6 million in Türkiye.

Turkish authorities also allowed Syrians in quake-stricken areas to travel to Syria for a month, but many decided not to return to Türkiye.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said more than 42,000 Syrians have returned to their country after the earthquake.



Iran Top Court Overturns Rapper Toomaj Salehi’s Death Sentence, Lawyer Says

People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)
People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)
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Iran Top Court Overturns Rapper Toomaj Salehi’s Death Sentence, Lawyer Says

People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)
People hold placards bearing portraits of Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi, who is arrested in Iran, and portraits of children (L), who were killed during the protests in Iran, during a rally in support of Iranian women in Istanbul, on November 26, 2022. (AFP)

Iran's supreme court has overturned Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi's death sentence on charges linked to the country's 2022-23 period of unrest, his lawyer wrote in a post on the X social media platform on Saturday.

"The death sentence of #Toomaj_Salehi was overturned and based on the appeal decision ...of the Supreme Court, the case will be referred to (another) branch for consideration," attorney Amir Raisian wrote on X.

There was no immediate official confirmation of the ruling.

Salehi's songs supported protests sparked by the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish Iranian woman arrested for allegedly wearing an "improper" hijab.