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 Wednesday, 15 January, 2003, 16:57 GMT
Turkey prepares for Iraq refugees
Refugees of the 1991 Gulf War
The world was not prepared for the refugees in 1991
The BBC's Jonny Dymond

The Turkish Red Crescent has started preparations for the arrival of refugees from Iraq in the event of war.

A 24,000-tent refugee camp is planned near Turkey's border with Iraq. During the Gulf War, almost half a million refugees entered Turkey from Iraq.

A 10-member team from the Red Crescent has been in the border province of Sirnak for four days.

In all, the Red Crescent hopes to be able to accommodate up to 100,000 refugees.

Unprepared

Turkey was unprepared during the Gulf War for the flood of refugees that poured across its border from Iraq.

Kurdish refugees
Millions of Kurds could be displaced in a war
Turkey faced international criticism for the poor conditions that many had to live in.

The authorities do not want those sort of numbers in the country again.

Alongside the humanitarian problem, they are concerned that Kurdish separatists driven into Iraq may come back with the refugees.

So it is thought that the government will try to set up camps within northern Iraq itself and try to limit the numbers coming into south-east Turkey.

But the announcement by the Red Crescent demonstrates that Turkey believes it will face a serious refugee problem if war comes.


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