Immigration and refugees

Turkey rejects citizenship applications of thousands of Uyghurs

Image: Şinasi Müldür / Pixabay


By Anne Kader



Turkey has rejected citizenship and residence permit applications of thousands of Uyghurs living in Turkey, a Turkish Tum Habeler reports. Those whose applications failed cannot return to their homeland. Their Chinese passports have expired, or they have been unable to renew them. 


Thousands of Uyghurs who had applied for exceptional citizenship received a negative answer or a non-finalized status. The reasons given for the rejections included issues to do with 'national security or 'public order. 


In 2020, Uyghur associations with connections to the Turkish authorities announced that Turkey would open a path for citizenship to Uyghurs living in Turkey, who still lacked Turkish citizenship. Nearly 16,000 applied.


Anadolu Agency reported in December 2021 that 5,836 Uyghurs had obtained exceptional citizenship from 2002 to December 2021. The vast majority of the applicants had their applications rejected or they have not received a reply. 


Many Uyghur refugees voiced their disappointment with Turkey, where they had come with high hopes.