Turkish aid agencies to set up camps for refugees in Northern Iraq
by Ahmet Topal
ANKARAOct 25, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Ahmet Topal
Oct 25, 2016 12:00 am
Turkish officials stated that they are considering options to create another zones for establishing refugee camps in Northern Iraq within aims to tackle a possible refugee influx during the Mosul operation.
Earlier this month, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated that Turkey aims to set up a 5,000-square-kilometer terror-free zone in Syria. While the efforts for establishing a terror-free zone in Syria continue amid the launch of the Mosul operation, Turkey has considered setting up another terror-free safe zone in Northern Iraq. "It's only rational to establish a safe zone within the region controlled by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG)," Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said over the weekend. "We already have border units situated in Hakkari and Şırnak, near the Iraqi border. As the PKK's Sinjar organization also poses a threat against the KRG, the KRG is willing to cooperate with Turkey. A safe zone will be established through a joint effort," Yıldırım added.
Meanwhile, with the start of the operation to liberate Mosul of Daesh, U.N. officials warned of a new wave of refugees, stating that up to 1 million people are at risk of being displaced during the operation.
Within the last week, senior officials from the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) and Turkish Crescent (Kızılay) paid a visit to KRG-controlled Northern Iraq and examined possible locations for the new refugee camps during which the head of the Turkish Crescent Kerem Kınık told Daily Sabah that there are aims to contain the refugees within the region by establishing new refugee camps on the line between Arbil and Duhok, near the existing ones, with the AFAD. Kınık said, "containing the refugees within the region will be beneficial, as there are attempts being made to change the region demographically. If the people stay within the region, this change cannot occur."
Kınık continued on to provide details about camp plans: "We will have tents set up first, which will later be supported with prefabs. Our camps come fully equipped with healthcare and educational facilities.
As it would be hard to have up to 400,000 people at a single camp, we will have more than one camp. Initially, we will have a camp with a capacity of 25,000 people and, as more immigrants come, we will gradually expand the camp," said Kınık.
Adding that their proposal was well-received by the Barzani administration, Kınık expressed that they will be able to address the refugee problem on-site and everything would be finalized by the first days of November. Regarding Mosul and Tal Afar, Kınık said that they will be sending 20 truck loads of humanitarian aid from Ankara to provide help to the people of the said cities. "We will continue to provide for the people of these cities. Meanwhile, we are also preparing aid campaigns for Mosul and Tal Afar," he added.