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Investigation launched into Turkish mayor over remarks on Syrian refugees

Turkey’s Minister of Interior Süleyman Soylu has announced that Hatay Mayor Lütfi Savaş has been put under investigation for statements against the naturalization of Syrian refugees, the Cumhuriyet daily reported on Sunday.

Elected mayor of Hatay from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Savaş had claimed that Syrians were granted Turkish citizenship based on electoral considerations and in complete disregard of the demographic future of Hatay, one of the provinces bordering Syria that has received a considerable number of refugees from the war-torn country.

Savaş also said that if the Syrians could nominate candidates, they would be able to win some districts of Hatay, in an apparent reference to the proportion of refugees.

“If a Syrian was to throw his hat into the ring in the districts of Reyhanlı, Yayladağı or Altınözü, he would be in a position to win. In five years, they will be able to win Kırıkhan and in 10 years all of Hatay,” Savaş tweeted.

In December 2018, Soylu announced that Turkey was hosting some 3.6 million Syrian refugees.

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