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What will happen to the nearly 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey?

Reuters/Umit Bektas
An uncertain fate.
  • Hanna Kozlowska
By Hanna Kozlowska

Investigative reporter

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

A military faction has attempted a coup in Turkey, the country’s prime minister said Friday night (July 15). As of this writing, there’s conflicting information as to who controls the country, but there’s one huge area of concern: the fate of millions of refugees who have poured into the country from neighboring Syria over the past five years.

More than 2.7 million Syrian refugees are registered in Turkey, many of them living in overcrowded camps. Many have been trying to leave Turkey for Europe. In March, Turkey reached a deal (registration required) with the EU that would expedite settlement of Syrian refugees in Europe if Turkey would allow migrants passing through the Greek islands to return. With the political situation in Turkey up in the air, the fate of the deal is unclear.

The coup leaders have said that they would keep Turkey’s international deals. “The validity of all of our international agreements and commitments are preserved. We wish to continue our good relations with all the world’s countries,” they said in a statement released by Türk Silahlı Kuvvetler (the Turkish Armed Forces). 

Earlier in July, president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the target of the coup, made a bold and controversial proposal by offering citizenship to Syrian refugees in the country.

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