World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey has begun temporarily holding thousands of Syrians on the Syrian side of the border as it struggles to cope with a growing wave of refugees.
At least 2,000 people fleeing violence in Syria were prevented from entering Turkey overnight at one of several unofficial border crossings in the southern province of Hatay, a Turkish official and witnesses said.
"We have run out of space to house these people. We are working to make shelters and when these are completed we will allow these people across," the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
He said the refugees were being handed food and humanitarian aid through the barbed-wire fence that marks much of Turkey's 900-km (560-mile) border with Syria, and through which tens of thousands of Syrians have scrambled over the past 17 months.
The official said he hoped the refugees would be allowed to cross later on Sunday.
The number of Syrian refugees in Turkey has nearly doubled over the past two months to more than 80,000 and Ankara has already said it is struggling to cope.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said this week Turkey could run out of space if the number went above 100,000 and suggested the United Nations may need to create a "safe zone" inside Syria.
In total, more than 200,000 Syrians have poured into neighbouring countries since the start of the conflict, already surpassing a U.N. year-end estimate of 185,000, and Turkey, which has seen the highest refugee influx, is growing frustrated at what it sees as a slow international response.
"The United Nations and others are commending Turkey and neighbouring countries for doing a good job housing the refugees but all these comments are actually covering up a crisis," a second Turkish official told Reuters.zz
STRUGGLING TO COPE
"Our capabilities as a host country are being strained ... we are now struggling to cope," said the official, who declined to be named so he could speak freely on the subject.
He said while several countries had provided some humanitarian aid such as blankets and tents, the overall response had been slow. He said despite pledges being made, Turkey had so far not received any financial assistance.
Many of the latest arrivals have been housed in schools and sports centres but, with the academic term due to begin in a matter of weeks, this is not a permanent solution.
Turkey is rushing to build several new camps but refugees are arriving faster than they can be constructed. This has led to overcrowding, causing disturbances in some camps as tempers, exacerbated by blazing summer temperatures, flare over shortages of food and water.
Officials also say the real number of Syrians that have fled their homes over the past 17 months is higher than the official figures as thousands of wealthier refugees have arrived across official borders and are renting accommodation in cities.
Ankara fears a mass influx on the scale seen during the 1991 Gulf War when 500,000 people poured into Turkey, and says that would be one factor that could drive Turkey to establish a "buffer zone" inside Syria.
But Ankara is reluctant to act unilaterally on what would essentially amount to a military intervention.
The idea of a buffer zone has also gained little traction elsewhere and Ankara has been increasingly vocal in its frustration at the U.N. Security Council and its failure to come to a united stance over Syria.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has said the Security Council's failure was indirectly supporting oppression in Syria, and criticised vetoes by China and Russia of U.N. resolutions as a "fiasco".
Turkey's new EU minister Volkan Bozkir said the EU should 'look at the right picture'.
Speaking as he sets out on an official visit to Azerbaijan, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey could contribute to resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
A female pilot and fellow flyer eject from a jet fighter plane after the engine caught fire.
Turkish defense industry exports increased by 21 percent in January-August period reaching over $1 billion, according to the national association of exporters.
High inflation figures are largely related to food prices, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said.
Turkish Aerospace Industries handed last four of modernized F-16 fighters to Pakistan in a ceremony in Ankara on Tuesday.
Tuesday's newspapers cover the corruption probe targeting President's Erdogan's son, PM Davutoglu’s unveiling of the new government program as well as more detentions in Turkey’s ‘wiretapping’ sweep.
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.
Turkey's President Erdogan made his first foreign visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as president on Monday.