Over 20,000 Ukrainians arrive in Turkey, says top official
More than 20,000 Ukrainians who fled their country because of the Russian invasion have arrived in Turkey, while Ankara has evacuated nearly 12,000 Turkish nationals from the conflict zone.
Since Feb. 24, 20,550 Ukrainian citizens have entered Turkey through border crossings, Deputy Interior Minister İsmail Çataklı said in a written statement on March 7.
He recalled that Ukrainians are allowed to enter Turkey with only passports or IDs due to the visa waiver program and that they can stay in the country for up to 90 days.
“Necessary directives have been issued to governors’ offices to help Ukrainians, who entered Turkey before the conflict but could not leave, with their residence permit applications,” Çataklı added.
The Presidency of Migration Management has activated its Crisis Coordination Center on a 24/7 basis in the face of the recent developments, according to the official.
Two trucks equipped with fingerprint scanning devices and additional personnel have been dispatched to the border province of Edirne, while another truck has been sent to the province of Kırklareli on the border with Bulgaria to facilitate the passage of the arriving people and speed up procedures, he said.
Turkey is home to more than 5 million refugees, most of them, around 3.7 million people, from war-torn Syria.
As far as the relief operations are concerned, Çataklı said that a team consisting of 11 personnel from Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) has been sent to the Siret crossing on the Romania-Ukraine border to help with efforts and coordinate the distribution of aid materials shipped from Turkey.
AFAD’s two mobile kitchens are presently serving 10,000 people at the Romanian border and 10 personnel from the Health Ministry’s National Medical Rescue Team (UMKE), who traveled to the region to set up an emergency response unit, are also supporting the AFAD team with relief efforts on the border, he added.
Çataklı also informed that in addition to 10 truckloads of humanitarian aid already sent, another 10 trucks with more aid materials, which were collected by private companies, non-governmental organizations and municipalities under the coordination of AFAD, will depart from Turkey this week.
Ankara, on the other hand, is conducting operations to bring Turkish citizens home.
Some 20,000 Turks were stranded in Ukraine after the conflict broke out. As soon as the clashes started, Turkish officials reached out to those expats via telephone and SMS to coordinate the evacuation efforts.
Nearly 12,000 Turkish nationals have been evacuated from Ukraine so far, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on March 6.