Deputy PM: Syrian refugees in Turkey exceed 145,000

Deputy PM: Syrian refugees in Turkey exceed 145,000

Deputy PM: Syrian refugees in Turkey exceed 145,000

A young boy tends a fire in front of his tent at a refugee camp on the border between Syria and Turkey, near the northern city of Azaz, Syria, 09 December 2012. EPA Photo

Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay announced on Saturday that the number of Syrians who have crossed into Turkey to flee the deadly violence that has engulfed their home country for the last 20 months has exceeded 145,000.

“The ongoing process in Syria has a huge impact on Turkey. There is an intense migration to Turkey. There is [migration] to all neighboring countries, and around 5 million of the Syrian population has moved across the border to our country. As of today, the number of refugees who have come to Turkey is 145,360,” Atalay said in at a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Kırıkkale.

“Our wish is to end the problems in Syria and for [Syrian] citizens to peacefully return to their country. Until that day, Turkey will do its best,” Atalay also said.

According to figures provided by the UNHCR, as of Dec. 18, Turkey had welcomed over 142,670 Syrians. Considering the figure given by Atalay, it is estimated that around 3,000 refugees entered Turkey in four days.

The actual number is likely to be much higher, since the official figures do not include the tens of thousands of Syrians who are unregistered and living in Turkish homes.

A total of 13 tent cities have been established in Turkey, in addition to a container city in Kilis that is capable of hosting 12,000 refugees. There are five tent cities in Hatay, two in Şanlıurfa, three in Gaziantep and one each in Kahramanmaraş, Osmaniye and Adıyaman.