Turkey has ‘no space for migration wave’: Official
Turkish authorities have been monitoring developments in Syria’s northwestern regions closely as the country’s capacity to host millions of migrants has neared its limits, an official from Turkey’s Interior Ministry has said.
“As Turkey, I would like to state that we do not have any more space left for a new migration wave. It is important that a political solution is found for conflicts in Idlib and a political transition is ensured there,” said Abdullah Ayaz, who heads the ministry’s migration management department.
Ayaz made the comments on June 19 during a meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) in Turkey’s capital Ankara.
“If the long-term solutions about migration are not put on the table; if enough effort is not put for these [solutions] to be realized; all parties, countries, and the international community will have to handle this issue with the approach that it is out of their borders, these days we are living right now can be our good days,” he said.
The number of foreigners living in Turkey was 4.2 million in 2017, but rose to 4.7 million in 2018 and 4.9 million as of now, said Ayaz.
The opposition-held province of Idlib in northwestern Syria could become the scene of the final, and perhaps bloodiest, showdown between the government and opposition forces. The U.N. says the result could be a humanitarian catastrophe.
The U.N. estimates it is home to 3 million people, including 1 million children. More than 40 percent of the civilians there come from other previously opposition-held areas.
Idlib also borders Turkey, to the north, and straddles highways running south from Aleppo to Hama and the capital Damascus, and west to Latakia on the Mediterranean coast - all cities controlled by the government.