The Turkish government has revoked the license of a humanitarian organization to provide aid to the Syrians affected by the foreign-sponsored militancy in their country.
In a statement released on its website, the US-based Mercy Corps said it had been ordered by Ankara to immedialtely halt its Turkey operations.
“Our hearts are broken by this turn of events, which comes after five years of cooperation with the government of Turkey and other local partners,” the statement added.
Mercy Corps has conducted from Turkey one of the largest humanitarian operations in Syria since 2012 and delivered lifesaving assistance to between 350,000 and 500,000 civilians in Syria each month.
The group has also helped some of the 2.7 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, poor Turkish families, and those refugees in seeking jobs, housing and education.Elsewhere in its statement, Mercy Corps said that it would continue its mission in Syria in a bid “to limit any adverse effects our departure from Turkey may have on the innocent men, women and children who depend on our assistance.”
The group further stressed that it will seek a dialogue with Turkish authorities to get permission to resume its operations in Turkey as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, Christine Nyirjesy Bragale, the director of media relations at Mercy Corps, emphasized that the agency had not been given a reason for having its permit revoked.
"We have every confidence in the impartiality and integrity of our operations," Bragale added.
US State Department spokesman Mark Toner confirmed Mercy Corps’ closure, saying Washington had conveyed it concerns over the issue to the Turkish government.
The US and Turkey have long supported anti-Damascus militants involved in the Syria conflict, which has raged on since March 2011.