World Bulletin/News Desk
Turkey has begun handing out food and other humanitarian aid to Syrians right on their common border as the worsening conflict in Syria makes aid distribution there increasingly difficult, Turkey's disaster and emergency body said on Saturday.
The move coincides with a sharp increase in the number of Syrians fleeing the fighting in the 17-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, taking the total in Turkey to nearly 70,000 and challenging its ability to cope.
The humanitarian situation in Syria has deteriorated as fighting escalates, cutting off civilians from food supplies, health care and other assistance, aid agencies say.
"The distribution of humanitarian aid by our country right on the border with Syria has begun," Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD) said in a statement.
Turkey has told the United Nations of the new practice and has opened a centre in its southeastern town of Gaziantep to receive international aid, AFAD said, adding that it needed dried, tinned and baby food, bedding and personal hygiene items.
The Turkish Red Crescent has also set up sites at four places on the border with Syria to receive local donations.
More than 170,000 Syrians have been registered in neighbouring countries - Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey - according to the U.N. refugee agency.
Some 1.2 million people are uprooted within Syria, many staying in schools or other public buildings, according to the U.N. regional humanitarian relief coordinator.
There has been a diarrhoea outbreak among residents of Rural Damascus province because the water supply has been contaminated by sewage, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.
The number of Syrians in Turkey has risen sharply from 44,000 at the end of July, and Ankara is concerned there may be a flood of refugees from the major northern city of Aleppo as the conflict there intensifies.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Friday welcomed the United Nations' appointment of Lakhdar Brahimi as the new international mediator on Syria but said he would need consensus in the U.N. Security Council if his mission was to succeed.
Turkey is setting up four new refugee camps to cope with the influx: two in Gaziantep, one in Kahramanmaras and one in Osmaniye. It already has eight tent cities - five in Hatay, two in Sanliurfa and one in Gaziantep - and a camp of prefabricated housing for 12,000 people in Kilis province.
Setting up the new camps would bring the cost of caring for the refugees to around 300 million Turkish lira ($167 million), AFAD said.
Turkey's Foreign Ministry urged Israel to withdraw their decision and stick to international law.
'To open the Halki Seminary (historic theological Greek school) is easy, but Greek side should take similar steps,' said President Erdogan.
The Turkish Exporters' Assembly announced a 5.2 percent rise in exports for August.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry rejected claims about the country’s general consulate staff in Mosul, who have been kept hostage by rebels in Iraq since June 11.
New Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu outlined the coming government’s program, highlighting the resolution of the Kurdish question.
The programme put emphasis on a strong economy, envisaging a monetary policy which stepped up the struggle against inflation but also supported growth and employment
Erdogan and Davutoglu, who was appointed prime minister last week, have both made clear that their efforts to curb Gulen's influence will continue in their new roles
Amasya MP Mehmet Naci Bostanci is elected ruling AK Party's new parliamentary group deputy chairman.
Turkish Aerospace Industries will deliver last four of modernized F-16 fighters to Pakistan on Tuesday.
Turkey's President Erdogan made his first foreign visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as president on Monday.
Ali Babacan will retain overall responsibility for the economy in the new cabinet, government spokesman Bulent Arinc said
Monday's newspapers cover German weekly Der Spiegel’s claims on foreign spying on Turkey, Turkish intelligence service’s purchase of a lie detector and ongoing construction works of Turkey’s Eurasia Tunnel Project.
Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he will discuss the issue of spying claims on Turjey with American and German leaders at the upcoming NATO summit and U.N. general assembly.
More than 30 police officials are sought in connection with alleged illegal wiretapping in Istanbul and other cities across Turkey.
These revelations come just one week after it was revealed that Germany had also been spying on fellow NATO-member Turkey.
Erdogan's first week as president will see him visit the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Azerbaijan and attend a NATO Summit in Wales.