Turkey won’t let Syrians cross border unless there is new humanitarian tragedy
REUTERS PhotoDeputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said Turkey has up to now allowed crossings of Syrians through Akçakale, but it will no longer let them enter and will henceforth stop their crossing, as “there is no longer a humanitarian tragedy.”
“We’ll wait for them to go safe areas in their region,” Kurtulmuş told reporters late on June 10, visiting a border area in the southern province of Şanlıurfa.
“We face an unprecedented situation,” he added, saying people were “fleeing strikes by coalition forces and the progress of Kurdish fighters in the region.”
Kurtulmuş accused the international anti-Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) coalition of “placing a multidimensional scenario” in Syria.
“This scenario, which is put into effect step by step, unfortunately leads to the influx [into Turkey] of [Syrian] guests. We host 2 million Syrian brothers and sisters, regardless of their ethnic roots or sect,” he said.
Since May 12-13, the coalition has launched heavy airstrikes in city centers and living spaces in a “reasonless and meaningless” way, according of Kurtulmuş. Some 45 civilians have been killed in these attacks, which have forced more people to leave their homes and move to Turkey.
Another reason for the displacements is the advancing forces of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Kurtulmuş claimed.
A total of 13,434 refugees crossed from Syria into Turkey in one week from June 3, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç said on June 11, adding that Turkey’s open-door policy for Syrian refugees would continue for cases of humanitarian tragedy.
On June 3, some 837 Syrians crossed into Turkey through the Akçakale border crossing, on June 4 some 2,832 crossed, on June 6 some 3,168 crossed, and on June 10 some 6,597 crossed, Bilgiç told reporters, adding that all Syrian were registered after health inspection.
“There is no change to our open-door policy. Until today, Turkey has opened its doors to those fleeing from Syria. It is a human tragedy,” he said.