Turkey to impose residence quotas on foreigners from July

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Turkey, host of world’s largest refugee population, will begin imposing quotas on the number of residence permits for foreigners next month as anti-immigrant sentiment piles pressure on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan before next year’s elections.

Turkey will limit residence permits for foreigners to 20 percent of the population of certain neighborhoods across the nation as of July 1, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said to the press at the Directorate General of Migration Management in Ankara, according to Hurriyet newspaper’s website.

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The rule will effectively shut 1,200 neighborhoods to more foreign residents, Soylu said.

Officials are trying to contain public discontent as an economic decline fuels anger over the presence of about 3.7 million Syrian refugees who are competing with Turkish citizens for jobs as runaway inflation erodes living standards.

The growing anti-refugee sentiment has emboldened opposition politicians who want to unseat Erdogan and has become a major political issue ahead of the election.

Earlier in May, Erdogan announced a plan to return one million Syrians to a Turkish-controlled strip of territory, though said the repatriation program will be voluntary.

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