A growing number of Syrian refugees in Germany are seeking to return to Turkey as a new German legislation has introduced new barriers to family reunification, local media reported on April 12.
The German government recently imposed stricter measures to curb family reunification for Syrian refugees, many of whom were granted “subsidiary protection.”
German broadcaster ARD reported that its correspondents documented the journey of several Syrian refugees who sought to return to Turkey by paying hundreds of euros to human smugglers.
The refugees wanted to return to Turkey because they could not receive permission from German authorities to bring their family members who had fled to Turkey after the Syrian civil war broke out, the report said.
The EU’s largest economy has accepted more than 700,000 Syrian refugees since 2015, but amid domestic political pressure, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government introduced barriers to family reunification. A cap of 1,000 people per month was imposed on who could come to Germany for family reunification.
Family reunification was a hot issue in last year’s elections after media reported that around 390,000 refugees could apply for this right and bring their spouses and minor children to Germany.
The far-right Islamophobic Alternative for Germany (AfD) alleged that family reunification was an “incalculable risk” for the country and called for severe restrictions.
Meanwhile, several hundred thousand Syrian refugees have been able to return to their homes since the Turkish military started operations in Afrin, the Syrian region bordering Turkey. There are, however, still around three million displaced Syrians in Turkey.