The death toll from the earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria on Sunday exceeded 29,000.
People affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria will be allowed to stay with relatives in Germany temporarily, it has been said.
“This is an emergency,” German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser told Bild newspaper on Saturday. “We want to enable Turkish or Syrian families in Germany to bring their close relatives from the disaster area to their homes without red tape.”
She said that this will be done with regular visas, which will be issued quickly and valid for three months.
easy #Visa for earthquake victims. Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy #Faeser: “It’s about helping people in need. We want to make it possible for Turkish or Syrian families in Germany to bring close relatives from the disaster area unbureaucratically.” pic.twitter.com/Rl76NAeAUL
— Federal Ministry of the Interior and Home Affairs (@BMI_Bund) February 11, 2023
Translation: Uncomplicated #Visa for earthquake victims. Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy #Faeser: “It’s about help in need. We want to enable Turkish or Syrian families in Germany to be able to bring close relatives from the disaster region in a non-bureaucratic manner.”
The decision comes after the death toll from the earthquake exceeded 29,000 on Sunday. Millions were displaced in both countries.
About 2.9 million people of Turkish origin live in Germany, and more than half have Turkish citizenship.
The Syrian community is also large, estimated at 924,000 since former German Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the borders to refugees in 2015 and 2016.
In 2014, there were 118,000 Syrians in Germany.
“As the German government, we want to help ensure that families in Germany can temporarily take in relatives affected by the earthquake if they are homeless or in need of treatment,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Twitter on Saturday.
Baerbock said the foreign and interior ministries had formed a “working group” to launch the initiative.
“The aim is to make visa procedures as unbureaucratic as possible for those affected. We increased staff in foreign missions in Turkey and reallocated capacity,” Baerbock added.
Expedited and priority visas are intended for people who are particularly affected by the disaster, who may be at risk of, for example, becoming homeless or who have suffered injuries that require treatment, the dpa news agency reported.
It added that the program is designed for victims who wish to seek refuge in Germany and stay with first- or second-degree family members who are either German citizens or have a permanent residence permit.