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In Turkey’s western province of Bursa, municipal police officers of Mudanya Municipality have forced Syrians to leave the beach though the Metropolitan Municipality has the jurisdiction over the beaches in the province.
Discriminatory defense from the mayor
Speaking to the local press regarding the incident, Mudanya Mayor Hayri Türkyılmaz has stated, “No one has the right to disturb others or hinder their freedom. While our children are falling martyrs, our mothers are crying and our economy is deteriorating, we cannot tolerate that they live in self-indulgence and disturb our people.”
Similar incidents in another seaside district of Gemlik
Similar practices have also been reported from Gemlik, another seaside district in Bursa. Municipal police officers have intervened in the shacks and tents set up by Syrians in Kumla beach. Officers have stated that tents set up outside camp areas will not be allowed throughout the season.
“Our municipal police officers will work together with Metropolitan Municipality teams and will not allow the occupation of tents and similar other materials in beaches”, Gemlik Mayor Mehmet Uğur Sertaslan has stated regarding the interference of municipal police officers.
EMEP: Beaches are the common heritage of humanity
The Bursa Provincial Organization of Labor Party of Turkey (EMEP) has denounced the incidents in Mudanya and Gemlik by stating, “The right to rest and recreation, which is a right of everyone, has been denied to Syrians.”
“In these days of economic crisis experienced by all peoples in our country, problems cannot be solved with discriminating and othering statements” the EMEP has further indicated and added, “Beaches are the common heritage that nature has left to humanity.”
Concluding its statement, the party has emphasized, “The decisions pertaining to the use of beaches should again be taken and discussed by people themselves. It should not be forgotten that the AKP government is responsible for opening the beaches to unearned income.”
The party has made a made a call to “the whole society of Turkey and all municipal administrations that are on the side of democracy, humanity, fraternity and the people to struggle against unearned income.”
Latest figures on refugees in Turkey
According to the figures shared by the Ministry of Interior, Directorate General of Migration Management on May 16, 2019, 3 million 606 thousand 727 Syrian refugees live in Turkey. Another statement dated March 8, 2019, the number of Syrians who have acquired the citizenship of Turkey is 79 thousand 894.
According to a report by the Laborers’ Health and Occupational Safety (İSİG) Assembly, at least 108 refugees lost their live in occupational homicides in 2018.