Turkey's biggest tent city, located in Şanlıurfa's Suruç district, is being dismantled following an Interior Ministry decision.
Opened in 2015 by first lady Emine Erdoğan, the 35,000-capacity camp tent city was run by the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) as a temporary shelter for refugees.
However, the Interior Ministry has decided to shut it down to use the financial allocations more effectively. Since many other tent cities are under capacity, most of the evacuated refugees from Suruç's tent city will be transferred to other sites. Most of the refugees at Suruç were Syrian refugees that fled the conflict in 2014 in the northern Syrian city of Ayn al-Arab, which is under the control of the PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG).
Syrian Kurds have suffered the most from YPG atrocities, although certain countries insist on equating the terrorist group with Kurdish people.
Turkey opened its doors to some 512,708 Syrian refugees fleeing YPG-held areas, while another 300,000 people took shelter in Iraq.
Another tent city in Şanlıurfa scheduled to be shut down is located in Ceylanpınar district. It hosts 16,151 refugees, while Suruç temporarily housed 15,101. The evacuation will alleviate the burden on Şanlıurfa.
The evacuation process is scheduled to be completed by June 21. It was also reported that Syrians who want to leave the tent cities and live in districts or provinces would be provided financial support to rent a house. Syrian refugee families with special needs, however, will be resettled in other shelters determined by the Directorate General of Migration Management.
Suruç's tent city was the biggest in Turkey with four schools, a hospital, a firefighting unit, playgrounds, psychosocial support areas, sports areas, markets and recreational spots.
Over the past nine years, AFAD has successfully coordinated Turkey's response to a number of devastating earthquakes and floods and helped survivors get their lives back on track. At the international level, AFAD completed successful missions to provide humanitarian assistance to over 50 countries around the globe. The agency is also a major actor in providing camps for refugees. Thanks to its efforts, many people enjoy regular access to housing, health care, education and psychological support.
There are currently nearly 4 million Syrian refugees living in Turkey. The refugee flow to Turkey started at the beginning of the Syrian crisis in 2011. So far, the country has spent more than $35 billion for the needs of refugees living in tent camps as well as those living outside the camps on their own.
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