Turkish PM to visit Syrian refugees in Şanlıurfa on Dec 30
ANKARAPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will visit Syrian refuges staying in tent cities in the southeastern border province of Şanlıurfa over the weekend.
Erdoğan will pay a two-day visit to Şanlıurfa, beginning on Dec. 29. On the first day of the visit, he will attend ceremonies to open facilities and gather with members of his Justice and Development Party (AKP), as well as with representative of civil society organizations.
On Dec. 30, Erdoğan will visit the towns of Akçakale and Ceylanpınar, each of which is home to tent cities for Syrian refugees.
As of Dec. 26, the total number of Syrians who have fled to Turkey had reached 148,000, according to a Turkish Foreign Ministry official. But the actual number is likely to be much higher because many Syrians are known to be living outside the camps.
A total of 13 tent cities have been established in Turkey, in addition to a container city in the southeastern province of Kilis that is capable of hosting 12,000 refugees. There are five tent cities in Hatay, two in Şanlıurfa, three in Gaziantep and one each in Kahramanmaraş, Osmaniye and Adıyaman.
During a visit to Turkey earlier this month, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the international community to extend financial support to countries hit by the refugee exodus, noting that Turkey alone had spent almost 1 billion dollars caring for Syrians.
Meanwhile, Erdoğan will also visit Şanlıurfa’s Viranşehir district on Dec. 30, when he will become just the second prime minister to visit this town, following former President and former Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel in 1968, Anatolia news agency reported.
Turkish PM threatened by Iraqi Shia group
Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH), a Shia insurgent group in Iraq, has recently threatened Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, according to a report by the private broadcaster NTV.
"We are rejecting and condemning the Turkish Prime Minister's latest statements. We consider them a clear intervention in Iraq's internal matters. Attempts to divide Iraq's national unity through sectarianism and spreading divisive poison is against everyone's interests and those who do this won't be able to escape from what will happen to them," the group said in a written statement.
Erdoğan recently criticized Iraq's Shia prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, for sectarian discrimination and added that a conflict similar to the one in Syria might occur in Iraq in the future.