ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Daily News Photo, Selahattin Sönmez
Syrian Syriacs who fled their war-torn country for Turkey asked a Turkish minister yesterday to establish a private center for them, as they prefer not to be sheltered in the camps and often travel to other cities in Turkey, the Turkish Syriac Catholic Deputy Patriarch Chorepiscopus Yusuf Sağ told reporters after his talks with the Turkish Foreign Minister.
There are more Christians in Syria who want to flee to Turkey and they want a center establishes especially for those refugees in a location such as the southeastern Turkish city of Mardin.
Turkey has been working to set up such a private shelter, a Turkish official told Hürriyet Daily News.
Meeting with Syriac community representatives in Turkey yesterday, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu
said in an open call to non-Muslim communities in conflict-hit Syria that Turkey opens its arms to all without religious or ethnic discrimination.
Syriac community representatives and the minister discussed possible contributions that could be made for the communities in the Middle East, primarily the ones in Syria, according to Davutoğlu.
Citing the long history of Syriacs in the region, Istanbul Metropolitan Filiksinos Yusuf Çetin said they were living together with their “Muslim brothers.” His community had done its best for the development of Turkey, Çetin added.
“We wish the war in Syria and in the Middle East will end as soon as possible and ensure people live in security of life, religion and property,” he said.
Turkish FM meets Iraq’s Allawi
Meanwhile, Davutoğlu met with the former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, now head of the opposition Iraqiya bloc, amid a political crisis facing the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Referring to al-Maliki’s warning of civil war, Allawi told reporters that his group was taking the crisis seriously, but the sole solution is a “real power share” within the government.
Allawi told reporters he shared his concerns with Davutoğlu not only about Iraq, but also on the possible spread of instability from Syria into Iraq.