The bid to Turkify Northern Syria

On August 2016, the Turkish occupation forces and their affiliate of Syrian armed groups launched the so-called ‘Euphrates Shields Operation’ and occupied towns and villages in north and northeast of Aleppo.

After the Turkish military occupation, Turkey applied its plans and agendas to Turkify the occupied Syrian towns and villages.

Syrian journalist Khrshed Delli said that “ Sulmyan Soylu,  the Turkish Interior Minister and Deputy of the Justice and Development Party believes in the now obsolete Ahd i-Milli ( the National Pact) which considers the people of north Syria and Iraq as Turkish citizens.”

“The Turkish government gave about 94000 Syrians the Turkish citizenship. This is the official number but I think the real number is more,” Delli said during an interview with Syria Times.

“The Turkish regime is practicing systematical Turkification plans in the Syrian occupied lands in all walks of life, including education, mosques, police stations, charities and everything,” Delli said.

Turkification of Education: 

Turkey established branches of its universities and schools in the so-called “Euphrates Shields” towns of A’zaz , Jarabulus, Al-Rai, Al-Bab and others.

Syrian students are being forced to study in Turkish in addition to Arabic. Turkey markets this issue as a must if students want to move to Turkey in the future.

Turkey runs the schools and universities and gives the teachers and administrative staff their salaries in Turkish liras via the Turkish Post Office (PTT) which opened offices in all big towns of the so-called “Euphrates Shields” such Azaz and Al-Bab.

According to local sources, the Turkish Ministry of Education runs about 700 schools that teach about 200.000 students in the so-called ‘Euphrates Shield Region’.

“The Turkish regime enforced its educational curriculum and language in all schools. Our children are forced to learn from these Turkish curricula which have different information and culture from the Syrian curriculum,” Abu Mohammad, 40-year-old father of two sons lives in Azaz town.

“I prefer to not send my children to the Turkey-run schools and learn from Turkish books. It is a national stance. There are many students who go to the schools and today they speak Turkish language and learn the history of Turkey not the history of Syria,” Abu Mohammad said to Syria Times.

Turkification of currency:

The Turkish government gives the Syrian militants, policemen, teachers, Sheikhs, scholars of mosques, doctors , nurse, employees and workers in municipalities monthly salaries in Turkish lira so, making the Turkish lira a de-facto issue, instead of the Syrian national currency.

It has become normal to pay with the Turkish lira for anything, monthly rent, buying a truck or a car, buying foodstuff- everything. Turkey encourages Syrian traders and sellers to deal with the Turkish lira.  

On June 25, 2020, Syrian Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade Dr. Samer Khalil stated that “the Turkish occupation is taking serious measures to Turkify the economy sector in northern Syria and enforce the Turkish lira on the trade deals and this hurts the Syrian national currency.”

Minister Khalil said that “the Turkish occupation  fabricates videos and propaganda on the deterioration of the Syrian economy at the same time with the American Caesar Act.”

“Turkey works to merge the occupied Syrian region’s economy and trade with its national economy. Turkey links roads and routes between Turkey and all occupied cities and towns. Turkey is building a big industrial zone in Al-Bab town to hire the low-salary Syrian professional workers and employees to work in its run factories,” Delli said.

“The Turkey-run local Syrian authorities prevented dealing with the Syrian pounds, specially the 2000SP note, in the Turkish occupied cities and towns in north Syria,” Delli


 Turkification of  Municipalities:

The Turkish States’ Walis (governors) have direct full mandate and authority over the occupied towns and villages. 

The Turkish Province of Gaziantep runs the towns of Al-Bab, Al-Rai, Jarabulus and all villages around them.  The province  sponsors the rebuilding of schools, hospitals and police stations in Jarabulus, which had been destroyed by terrorists in the pay of Turkey.

The province of Kilis runs the towns A’azaz, Siren, Akhtren, Maria and all villages around them.

And as if these areas are not stolen Syrian towns, the Turkish provinces of Gaziantep and Kilis carry out and sponsor directly and from their budgets the projects of potable water, electricity, parks and other public works while the local councils carry out some public works projects from their fees and taxes which are collecting from gas stations, local oil refineries, transport, garages and border crossing.

“I see the Turkish flags and written banners everywhere in my hometown, Azaz. I see the Turkish occupation soldiers and policemen in and around Azaz. They speak Turkish language and raise the Turkish flags and Erdogan’s posters in their military bases, police stations and offices,” Abu Ahmed, 50-year-old Syrian resident from Azaz town, northern Aleppo, said to Syria Times via phone -interview.

“Turkey works day and night to Turkify the Syrian local municipalities where I see the Turkish flags and Erdogan posters in them. Turkey even Turkified the public parks and named them with Turkish names,” Abu Ahmed added.  

Turkification of Courts and Judiciary State:

Abu Hasan, a 50-year-old, Syrian lawyer who lives in the Turkish occupied town of Al-Rai , north Aleppo, said that

the Turkish occupation authorities established a big court in Al-Rai town to run the judiciary state in the so-called ‘Euphrates Shield Region’. 

On September 19, 2018, the Wali of Kilis Fahmi Sinan opened the Palace of Justice of Al-Rai, which contains the Court of Criminal, Court of Appeal and Court of Cessation.

“There is a committee from the Turkish Justice Ministry to monitor the Euphrates Shield region’s courts and judges’ sentences. Turkey pays the judges and working staff’s salaries in the Turkish lira and they are all loyal to the Erdogan regime,” Abu Hasan said to Syria Times via phone-interview.

“The judges and lawyers use the old Syrian laws of 1950’s – 1960’s , not the current Syrian laws which are used in the Syrian courts in their efforts to make the locals living there forget modern Syria,” Abu Hasan said.

And so the efforts of Turkey continue to steal and robe what is Syrian, to erase a culture that goes much deeper than theirs and to break the will of a people who were born as early as history was born.


Reported by Obaida Hamad/ Inas Abdulkareem

Photos: Mahfouz Abu Hadir