State housing agency TOKİ building three ‘container cities’ for Syrians in south Turkey
DHA photoThe Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKİ) has been building three new “giant container cities” for Syrians in the southern Turkish provinces of Hatay and Kahramanmaraş, hosting up to 40,000 refugees.
The container city being built in Kahramanmaraş has already led to angry protests from local Alevis, who fear that the province’s sensitive demography will be unsettled.
“We are continuing to build three container cities. These will host 4,000 people in Hatay, in the Dutlubahçe neighborhood of the Yayladağı district; and 10,000 people in the Boynuyoğun neighborhood of the Altınözü district. The 25,000-person-capacity container city in Kahramanmaraş, in the Sivricehöyük village of Dulkadiroğlu district, is continuing to be built,” said Ergün Turan, the president of TOKİ, a Prime Ministry-affiliated body, on April 17.
“When the container city in Kahramanmaraş is completed, a living space much bigger than the facility in Elbeyli, which is the biggest temporary accommodation center in the world, will be constituted,” Turan told the state-run Anadolu Agency, referring to the Elbeyli refugee camp in the southern province of Kilis.
Earlier in April, locals from Sivricehöyük and other villages nearby rallied against plans to build a container city, with the village head, Mehmet Caner, saying that the refugee population would dwarf the number of local Alevis, who only number around 6,000.
Through 1978 and 1980, in the run up to the Sept. 12, 1980 military coup d’état, Alevis were subjected to mass killings not only in Kahramanmaraş, then called Maraş, but also in Sivas and Çorum by ultra-nationalist groups.
An appeal by villagers for “urgent stay of execution” in the container city plan has already been filed to an administrative court, with residents citing fears that “Syrian jihadists” would be settled nearby.