Turkey’s resort towns on alert for growing number of Syrian refugees

Turkey’s resort towns on alert for growing number of Syrian refugees

Fevzi Kızılkoyun ANKARA
Turkey’s resort towns on alert for growing number of Syrian refugees

HÜRRİYET photo, Murat Şaka.

The governor’s offices in Turkey’s western and southern cities have issued official notices to regarding the Syrian refugees living in city centers and on the streets in the resort towns.

Hundreds of Syrian refugees have been living outdoors in Turkey’s resort towns, including Bodrum, while locals have expressed both their sympathy and their concerns, fearing the situation could negatively impact tourism. 

In the notice, the governor’s offices have told the local governors, the provincial and district police and the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) branches to take the necessary precautions regarding the situation.

The notice asked the officials “not to allow refugees enter the towns, especially Syrians who do not have a place to stay and sleep on the streets, to detain those who stay in the city centers and send them to the refugee camps and keep those who do not go to the camps at specific location to be determined by the AFAD.”

The presence of hundreds of Syrian refugees living outdoors in Bodrum has raised tourism-related concerns, even as shopkeepers and local residents expressed their sympathy toward the Syrians. 

On the Bodrum shoreline, Syrian refugees could be seen sleeping on blankets spread on the ground beside their suitcases alongside tourists out for stroll. 

The population of Bodrum reaches more than a million in the summer months when tourists arrive.
Syrian refugees who have been living outdoors in the southern resort town of Bodrum in Muğla were taken to a local schoolyard on June 22 by police and municipal police following complaints.

The relocation of the Syrian refugees came less than a month after around 40 Syrian Turkmens living outdoors in Bodrum were taken to the Söke district of the western province of Aydın in late May, following complaints voiced by local shopkeepers and tradesmen running businesses in the tourism sector.

Turkey has long been hosting refugees fleeing the war in Syria, with a rising number that may now exceed 2 million living on Turkish soil. Syrians have come to several provinces across the country and often end up struggling to survive in outdoor conditions after failing to land a job.