Refugee limit 400,000 despite economic woes

Refugee limit 400,000 despite economic woes

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Refugee limit 400,000 despite economic woes

More than 100,000 Syrian refugees take shelter in camps in Turkey. DHA photo

Turkey estimates that the number of refugees seeking shelter within its borders will reach 400,000 as of June 2013, well-informed sources have told the Hürriyet Daily News.

So far, Turkey has allocated 400 million Turkish Liras from its budget for the support of the Syrian refugees, Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek said, noting that with the added expenses of municipalities and state institutions, the figure was likely to be much higher. The funds were transferred to organizations supporting over 100,000 Syrian refugees staying in camps within Turkey, Şimşek said. As of Oct. 15, more than 100,000 Syrians in 14 camps have received “temporary protection” in Turkey. Two more camps are currently being established with a capacity to shelter 30,000 people, while the number of Syrians living outside the camps is estimated at over 30,000.

The United Nations Refugee Agency warned in September that the total number of Syrian refugees fleeing the conflict in their country could reach a total of 700,000 by the end of the year and 1.5 million by June 2013. Most hope to take shelter in neighboring countries such as Turkey and Jordan.

Warning from MHP leader Bahçeli
Turkey has introduced a “zero point delivery system” to deliver aid to Syrians across the border. This system allows Turkish organizations to collect aid destined for Syria at five border crossings. However, Turkey’s 14 camps are currently at maximum capacity and nearly 10,000 Syrians have been stranded for weeks on the Syrian side of the border.

In August, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Turkey was struggling to look after tens of thousands of Syrian refugees and suggested that the country could accept no more than 100,000 refugees.
In an address to his party deputies yesterday, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli said the Syrian refugees had become too much of a burden for Turkey to support. “Incoming refugees have now reached a point where Turkey cannot handle it [anymore],” Bahçeli said at his parliamentary address, adding his opinion that Turkey’s foreign policy had turned into a “strategic horror movie.”

Meanwhile, Andrea Rigoni, rapporteur of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), will make a fact-finding visit to Turkey between Oct. 17-19, in preparation for his report on refugees.