Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The "Wali of the Syrians"

A heated controversy is unfolding in Turkey and in the Arab press about the exact functions of the Turkish chief of police, Veysel Dalmaz.

A member of the ruling party, this senior official served as Inspector General of the Department of the Interior, then as chief of police in various regions. On September 21, 2012 he was appointed "Wali of the Syrians." Interestingly, at the time of the Ottoman empire the expression was used to designate the governor of Syria appointed by the Sultan.

Veysel Dalmaz affirmed that he was solely in charge of the well-being of Syrian refugees in Turkey. The "Wali" also vowed that his functions were in no way political or military, that they were not related to the Syrian territories controlled by the Free Syrian Army (SLA), but only to the refugee camps in Turkey. Nevertheless, various reports suggest that he is now also responsible for displaced Syrians inside Syria.

Everything happens as though the abandonment of French demands for a UN mandate on "Syrian liberated areas" had immediately been replaced by neo-Ottoman ambitions.

Strangely Veysel Dalmaz is no longer subordinated to his department of origin, but has been attached directly to the cabinet of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

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