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MIDEAST >Turkey starts to build tent city for Syriacs

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Turkey begins constructing a private camp for Syrian Syriacs in Mardin. DAILY NEWS photo / Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Turkey begins constructing a private camp for Syrian Syriacs in Mardin. DAILY NEWS photo / Selahattin SÖNMEZ

    Vercihan ZiflioğluVercihan Ziflioğluvercihan.ziflioglu@hurriyet.com.tr

    Turkey has started constructing a private camp for Syrian Syriacs in the southeastern province of Mardin’s Midyat district in response to a request made to Turkey by the community.

    Officials from the Prime Ministry’s Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD) have confirmed the construction, adding that it is being carried out in coordination with the Foreign Ministry.

    Syrian Syriacs who fled their country for Turkey had asked Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to establish a private camp. The camp, which will house 10,000 people, will be established near Mor Abraham Syriac Monastry in Midyat. According to AFAD, it will not only belong to Syrian Syriacs, but to all Christians who take shelter in Turkey. Muslims and Christian will be settled in different parts of the camp. The Mor Gabriel Foundation’s head, Kuryakos Ergün indicated that they have welcomed the initiative with a bittersweet joy, adding that he will renegotiate the issue with Ankara.

    “We wanted a private camp but acknowledged that Muslims will also be settled near Christians. According to information given to us, there will be space for 4,000 Christians and 6,000 Muslims. Our people could have settled in the existing camps but they cannot due to security reasons. A common camp would cause problems,” Ergün told Hürriyet Daily News. He also criticized the capacity of the camp. AFAD officials, however, said that they had not yet decided whether a tent or container city would be constructed.

    April/10/2013

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