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Turkish Opposition Leader Plans to Return Syrian Refugees

Turkish Opposition Leader Plans to Return Syrian Refugees

Sunday, 24 July, 2022 - 08:30
Turkish police detain demonstrators in Istanbul on the anniversary of a suicide bombing in Suruc (AFP)

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, head of Turkey's main opposition, the Republican People's Party, has renewed his intention to return Syrian refugees to their country if he won the presidential elections in June 2023.

Kilicdaroglu announced a four-stage plan over two years to return 99 percent of the Syrian refugees to their country after providing them with all means of safety and stability.

Speaking at a meeting with representatives of community organizations and local leaders in Ankara, the opposition leader said the first stage includes dialogue with the Syrian regime and restoring relations to normal between Ankara and Damascus.

The second step includes ensuring the safety of citizens' lives and property if they return to areas under the regime's control, said Kilicdaroglu, adding that the Turkish and Syrian armies and the UN will provide security.

The third stage will prepare for housing and jobs for the returnees through EU funding to Turkish construction companies, and the fourth stage includes transferring the factories established by Syrian businessmen in Gaziantep to Aleppo.

Kilicdaroglu indicated that the Turkish community is not comfortable with the Syrians, adding that he will create the right conditions for 99 percent of the Syrian refugees to return to their homeland.

The opposition leader made numerous statements about returning the Syrians and bidding farewell to them at the border.

"Don't you worry. We will send our Syrian siblings to their homes with drums and zurnas within two years at the latest," Kilicdaroglu said.

The issue of the displaced Syrian has become the top concern of the Turkish public ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections next year, in light of the deteriorating economic conditions in the country.

Meanwhile, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Joyce Msuya, will visit Turkey between Jul 25 and 29.

Msuya is expected to meet with Turkish officials, donors, UN agencies, and local and international NGOs involved in cross-border aid. She will engage with affected people and Syrian women's groups to discuss the challenges they face.

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