Kilis, a city on Turkey's border with Syria, is scheduled to receive a much-anticipated guest on April 16. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was invited by the city's administration to see how Syrian refugees are hosted, will attend the opening ceremony of a school and hospital funded by the European Union, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said yesterday. Davutoğlu said in a speech to his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in Parliament yesterday that he, Merkel and some other European Union leaders will attend the opening of the school and hospital that will cater to refugees. Their construction was part of a deal with the European Union to provide Ankara with funds to provide for the needs of refugees.
Located some 10 kilometers from the Syrian border, Kilis was one of the first destinations for tens of thousands of refugees leaving Syria, which is in ruins due to the ongoing civil war. What followed was something rarely seen in cities receiving refugees en masse. Despite the waves of refugees flocking to the city, residents did everything they could to help and were never intolerant of the new residents, officials who nominated the city for a Nobel Peace Prize say. The city's mayor, Hasan Kara, invited Angela Merkel to visit the city.
With a population of 129,000, Kilis is home to 120,000 Syrian refugees, and this number may further increase as new refugees arrive due to the war in Syria.