TCA President Visits Refugee Camps in Southeastern Turkey

Image TCA President G. Lincoln McCurdy at the Viransehir refugee camp. TCA President G. Lincoln McCurdy visited refugee camps in Viransehir and Midyat, Turkey on June 1 and 2, 2015. Currently, Turkey is confronting the challenges of one of the worst man-made humanitarian crises facing the world. Turkey has taken in over 1.7 million refugees fleeing violence in Syria and the surrounding region. Of these refugees, over 200,000 live in one of 25 temporary protection camps, while 1.5 million live in Turkish towns and cities.

On June 1, McCurdy visited the Prime Ministry Disaster & Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) Viransehir refugee camp. During his visit, McCurdy met with Viransehir camp director Zeki Kaya and staff and toured the facilities. The camp, which opened in August 2013, is built on Turkish government land located near the Ceylanpinar border crossing with Syria. It reached capacity in 2014 and currently houses 17,750 Syrian refugees. With monthly expenditures exceeding $2.5 million, the camp provides various services, including electricity, running water, schools, language lessons, community centers, computer facilities, sewing and weaving centers, grocery stores, and hospitals.

On June 2, McCurdy visited the AFAD Midyat refugee camp, which opened in 2013 and provides similar services to those of the Viransehir camp. While in Midyat, McCurdy toured the camp and surrounding area and met with camp director Orhan Sasmaz. Originally constructed for Assyrian Christian refugees from Iraq, the camp currently houses over 5,000 Syrian refugees and Iraqi Yazidis.
McCurdy stated, "From my observations at both camps, I was impressed with the Turkish government's extraordinary efforts in providing daily services to all refugees, especially continuing educational opportunities for the children in their native language."

To date, the Turkish government has spent nearly $6 billion on Syrian refugees in Turkey, and Turkish resources are increasingly strained. Without a long-term international resolution to the Syrian conflict, thousands more refugees may arrive at the Turkish border.

For more photos and information from TCA President G. Lincoln McCurdy's visits to the camps in Southeastern Turkey,

Additional information as of June 1, 2015:
· The Viransehir camp is operated by the Prime Ministry Disaster & Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).
· Schools at the Viransehir camp serve 6,000 students, with lessons taught in Arabic.
· Two classrooms are used exclusively for the schooling of disabled students.
· Doctors in the camp’s hospital see approximately 500 people per day.
· The Viransehir camp is in need of more containers for classrooms and ambulances.
· Refugees are allowed to take jobs outside the camp but must be back by a certain hour.
· If refugees wish to return to Syria, they must obtain permission from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees/The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and AFAD.
· Each refugee receives 85 Turkish lira per month for groceries and living expenses.
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07