President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that should a decision be made to establish a region which has been cleared of terrorism, Turkey would be happy to play a role in the establishment of the infrastructure with its expert teams, and small cities with schools, hospitals and social facilities could be built in less than 1 year, in order to assist with the solution of the human crisis in Syria.
In the interview given by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to El Arabiya television, he evaluated the subjects of the safe zone, the region cleared of ISIS and the no fly zone directed at the protection of Syrian civilians, which are being supported by Turkey. Erdoğan, who stated that Turkey had conveyed its proposal on the matter to all of the heads of state it knew and was in touch with, as well as the leaders he had met at the G20 summit in Antalya, and said that he had stated as follows during these discussions:
There is a region, which is 98 kilometers wide and 45 kilometers deep, to our south and in the north of Syria. We can declare this region a region which has been cleared of terrorism, at the first stage. And we can arrange for those people coming from Syria and those who are currently in the camps in Turkey, and who want to return to Syria, to their own country, to settle in this region which has been freed from terrorism. ‘So, what can we do?’ One, first of all, we will announce a financial campaign and collect together the money. We are a country which is successful in infrastructure and the building of homes. Let us build homes which are suited to the local architecture of Syria in these areas. And let us establish cities and small towns in these areas, in a manner to meet at least a certain part of this need in the first instance, by building these homes. However, this area needs to be declared a no fly zone so that it is safe.
President Erdoğan, who stated that security would need to be ensured by the Free Syrian Army or by moderate opposition forces in the event that this region freed from terrorism can be established, said that the reaction to the proposal had been positive. Erdoğan, who pointed out that the flow of refugees would come to an end and that the Syrians who had left their countries could return in the event that the said region was established, continued as follows:
Small towns can be set up in the regions freed from terrorism in less than 1 year, if such a decision is taken. These will not just include homes, but also hospitals, schools, shopping centers and other social facilities. Of course, we have lost 5 years while talking about all of this, but if we are to take these steps, and begin immediately, they will not take a great deal of time for us. We can build the settlement areas there in a very short time. All we need is for a healthy financial flow. We will get our teams working, because there are numerous model applications we have implemented in our country in connection with this matter. These can easily be transferred there. These will not take a great deal of time for us, and when you begin this, of course you will not begin with just one contractor. At the same time, you will begin with a very serious number of teams based on the need, and pave the way for our Syrian brothers to settle there as quickly as possible, by using teams who are successful in this area.
President Erdoğan said that they had already built more than 600 thousand of the homes which take a longer time to build during his term as President, creating different little towns. Erdoğan said, “However, here, both the land is suitable and we will build homes in line with the local architecture – that is one storey or ground floor plus one additional storey homes. We will also build their schools and hospitals, and we will eliminate the psychological trauma of these people as quickly as possible. This psychological trauma is very important. It is very important for us to change the atmosphere there. This will bring assurance to the people of Syria.”