Yaşar Anter / Istanbul, May 27 () - Around 40 Syrian Turkmens who have been living outside in a resort town in the southwestern Turkish province of Muğla were taken to another province by municipal police, following complaints from local shopkeepers and tourism companies.
Eight Syrian Turkmen families originally from Aleppo, who arrived in Bodrum a few weeks ago hoping to find jobs, ended up struggling to survive in a park in a marina alongside Neyzen Tevfik Street in central Bodrum.
Jaber al-Jazairi, 36, one of the refugees, said he and his family were farmers in Syria, before gunmen asked them to join the ongoing fighting in the country.
“We had all been farmers and never had weapons. We refused to fight those who we see as brothers. We sold whatever we had and fled our home. Some said there were farming job opportunities in Bodrum and brought us here before leaving. Now, we do not know what to do. We do not mean to hurt anybody” al-Jazairi said.
Bülent Şenol, the owner of a popular night club in Bodrum, Küba Bar, said the town had recently seen “inconveniencies” due to the Syrian Turkmens living in the nearby park.
“The Syrians may have been victims of some ill-intentioned people. But I do not want to see them in front of my place right next to the Bodrum Port. I would like to see tourists there. The tourism industry was already in trouble here. If necessary measures are not taken, we will face serious problems” Şenol said.
The municipal police asked the refugees to leave the park after they received complaints from several shopkeepers and local workers, saying they would be given financial assistance if they decided to move to another province. They were eventually convinced to leave the park and sent in a bus to the Söke district of the neighboring western province of Aydın.
Turkey has long been hosting refugees fleeing the war in Syria. Some living in the Reyhanlı district of the southern province of Hatay recently returned after Syrian opposition forces seized control of Jisr al-Shugur, a city in the Idlib Governorate of northwestern Syria.
Some 15,000 Syrians are thought to have returned over the last month.