[WATCH] Turkish government refusing visas for Syrians in Malta

Syrians in Malta want to visit relatives in Turkey but their visa requests are being turned down

Turkish government refusing visas for Syrians in Malta

Requests for visas by Syrians living in Malta to the Turkish government are being turned down, the Syrian community said today.

In a peaceful protest held outside the Turkish embassy in Floriana, the Syrian residents urged Turkey to grant visas and permits, allowing them to visit relatives in Turkey.

"Turkey has offered so much help to us and we are eternally grateful, but we are asking for more help to allow us to visit our relatives who are still in Turkey,” president of the community Hussain Ismael Dgheem told reporters.

Dgheem added that the government had stopped issuing visiting permits in the past two to three months, without offering further proper explanation why this move had been taken.

Protesters at the event told MaltaToday that some 1,000 Syrians live in Malta and that sadly some hadn't seen their relatives in a long time.

“My uncle has been in Malta for 28 years and he has not seen his mother and brothers for the past nine years now,” one of the protestors said.

"We waited to make enough money to be able to afford a visit, but the change means that the efforts will be fruitless," Zakara Alkhtiv said.

Another protestor added that the community wasn't asking for long permits and that a short one-month permit would give them ample time to visit their families.

“We are concerned because although our relatives are safe now that they have left the conflict in Syria, we cannot see them or understand how they are coping,” Alkhtiv said, adding that many would like to have the chance to visit their families at the end of Ramadan.

Dgheem added that he was especially pained by the war that his country was going through, and he explained that being able to visit relatives in Turkey would soothe the pain even if slightly.