Turkey not keen on opening Armenia border
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
The burnt interior of the Armenian Kevork Church in Aleppo, Syria, is seen after clashes. Many Armenians from the area have fled Syria's violence. REUTERS photoTurkey is not positive about opening its land border with Armenia to facilitate Syrian-Armenians’ entrance to the country, as suggested by a petition on the White House’s official website.
Turkey is providing all kinds of facilities for the transfer of humanitarian aid sent from Armenia to Armenians living in Syria, Selçuk Ünal, the spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry, said yesterday in a written statement.
The signature collection campaign started on the White House’s website for Turkey’s unconditional opening of the border with Armenia for the Syrian refugees.
“Turkey will determine the content, method and conditions of the steps on its own with regard to the demands that may come on humanitarian issues,” said the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
Turkey assists people “without making distinction in terms of religion, language, race and ethnic origin as a natural consequence of the understanding of conscience inherited from ancestors,” said the statement. The ministry recalled that Turkey was a prominent country extending aid to Armenia after earthquakes. moreover, it facilitated delivering of humanitarian assistance to Armenians in Syria.
Turkey shelters more than 150,000 people with no distinction on the basis of religion, language, race and ethnic origin, the statement said, adding that many Armenians had fled from Syria and arrived in Armenia through Turkey.
The campaign on the White House’s website has political purposes rather than reflecting realities on the ground, a Turkish official told the Hürriyet Daily News.
If fleeing the country, any Syrian Armenian could fly from Hatay to Armenia rather than take the land route, which is thousands of kilometers long, the official added.
Ready to open special refugee camp
A Turkish official said Turkey was ready to open a special refugee camp for non-Muslims, but there was no demand yet.
There are a small number of non-Muslims in the camps for Syrian refugees, but Turkey is ready to facilitate a special camp for them if high numbers of non-Muslim refugees flee into Turkey and ask for it, according to the official.
There were no Syrian Armenians registered in the camps, the official also said.