Villagers protest refugee camp plans in Turkey’s south
KAHRAMANMARAŞVillagers staged a protest over plans to build a new refugee camp in Kahramanmaraş, a province in southern Turkey close to the Syrian border, daily Milliyet has reported.
The residents of Höyük, a village in the Sivrice district of Kahramanmaraş, oppose the construction of a camp of container housing for Syrian refugees, saying it may disrupt the delicate ethno-religious makeup of the area.
“The camp, which will be built in the center of a predominantly Alevi area, unsettles both local Sunnis and Alevis,” said Mahmut Deliter, speaking on behalf of the group gathered in front of a local cemevi.
“[Local Alevis] are still struggling to rid themselves of the fear of the massacre that took place in 1978 in Maraş,” Deliter added, referring to the killing of over 100 Alevi activists in the town by right-wing ultra-nationalists.
He stressed that their objection was only to the location of the camp and he called on the authorities to rethink its location.
“We, as Alevis and Sunnis living in this area, are calling on the authorities to reconsider the location of the camp due to the fear and uneasiness that its location creates,” Deliter added.
“We want people to know that our objection to the refugee camp plan is not inhumane. On the contrary, we say the people brought here are the victims of a war that serves occupying imperialists and their capitalist politics. We are not asking the oppressed people of Syria, who are fleeing the war in their homeland, why they are coming here,” he also stated.