Syrian refugees decline to be moved to camps, Istanbul governor says
Syrian refugees go on their daily life in a park on November 3, 2013, in Istanbul According to the Turkish Disaster Management Authority, the number of Syrian refugees in Turkey has exceeded 600,000 and more than 400,000 of them are living outside refugee camps. AFP photoSyrian refugees in Istanbul refuse to be moved to camps, Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu said, calling on people in the city to inform the authorities when they saw Syrians living outside.
“The presence of Syrian refugees living homelessly in open spaces in our city has been drawing our attention for some time,” the governor said in a Twitter message Dec. 3.
Mutlu said they had been trying to persuade these refugees to settle down in the camps provided by the Turkish states through the Turkish Red Crescent, but so far only 34 people from 7 families had agreed.
“We laid out the already-ready Red Crescent camp in Pendik and Tuzla Logistic Center for homeless people. The refugees left outside have been called to live in these facilities we organized for the past 10 days. They have been told it’s unacceptable for their health and for the conscience of our hospitable society, especially in these winter conditions,” he said.
Some refugees declining to be provided for by the state have opted for various other solutions, Mutlu added.
“This issue is still on our agenda and we will continue to be on its trails,” he noted, vowing to prevent refugees being left out in the cold and “negative incidents.”
“Our state and our hospitable, helpful people will continue to present their help and attention to refugees but the problems will be monitored,” he said.
The governor further asked for Istanbul people’s help in monitoring those “negative incidents” he mentioned.
“We expect from Istanbul people to know that we expect valuable attention regarding the issue and to inform us about the people who would like to remain outside,” he said, giving out contact information.
As of Nov. 12, 202,793 of the Syrian refugees who had fled the civil war in their homeland were living in refugee camps in Turkey while 491,000 were living in rented accommodation outside the camps, according to a recent report drafted by the Turkish Parliament’s Human Rights Inquiry Commission.
Meanwhile, the number of Syrian refugees in Istanbul is estimated to be over 100,000.
While some Syrian refugees who have been staying in parks and empty areas of Istanbul are looking for a job and a place to live, others who can afford to rent a place are building up new lives in Turkey with the funds they receive from international NGOs, according to civil society organizations.