#Article (Archive)


Sep 22, 2015, 9:35 AM

After more than 4, 5 years of conflict and suffering, Syrian crisis has become the world’s largest humanitarian tragedy. Almost half of the country’s population, close to 12 million men, women and children have been displaced.

- Sharing not only a border of 911 km, but also history and culture, we pursue an “open door” policy for Syrians without any form of discrimination.

- Turkey strictly complies with the principle of non-refoulement.

- According to the UNHCR, Turkey is the biggest refugee-hosting country in the world. The total number of Syrians living in Turkey reached over 2 million. (Registered: 2.016.687 as of 18 September 2015)

- 260.000 Syrians are accommodated in 25 temporary protection centers and provided with food, non-food items, health and education services as well as psychological assistance, vocational training and social activities.

- In addition to that, 1.8 million Syrians who live outside these centers are also under our protection regime and they benefit from free medical services.

- The attitude of Turkish society to migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and people under temporary protection has always been one of tolerance, sympathy and solidarity.

- Turkey will spare no efforts in its commitment to strengthen international cooperation with a view to protect human lives and improve living conditions of Syrians.

- There are almost 600.000 school-age Syrian children in Turkey and more than 400,000 of them miss on schooling. New schools, classrooms and teachers are urgently needed. In this regard, proper funding for the implementation of UN “No Lost Generation Strategy” would be helpful.

- Turkey has so far spent almost 6,7 billion US Dollars for all these efforts, whereas the total contributions we received bilaterally and multilaterally from the international community so far have been limited to 417 million USD.

- The UN Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) for the period 2015-2016 which emphasizes on resilience will give us opportunity to alleviate the heavy burden on Syria’s neighbouring countries. Although the total amount requested for Turkey is 624 million USD, so far only 185 million USD (30%) has been funded.

- We feel that there is a clear deficit of solidarity on the part of the international community on burden-sharing with respect to the Syrian crisis.

- By providing protection, assistance and services to the Syrians, Turkey indeed upholds “the European values” much better than the EU countries.

- As the number of Syrians that are seeking safety and refuge in Europe, by taking dangerous journeys across the Mediterranean increased dramatically, the Turkish Coast Guard has initiated an “Operation Safe Med” in the Mediterranean Sea and “Operation Aegean Hope” in the Aegean Sea in 2015 in order to maintain safety and security at seas. The operations conducted by the Turkish Coast Guard cost 5 million Euros per month that has to be met from national resources.

- Since the beginning of 2015, Turkish Coast Guard has rescued almost 55,000 migrants from sea. This number is more than the total number of rescued migrants at sea in last 5 years.

- Turkey will continue its policy of saving lives of distressed migrants and asylum-seekers as well as manage migration in general. However, it is obvious that forefront countries faced with thousands of migrants and asylum-seekers even in a day cannot cope with this crises alone. All countries must protect people in need of protection.

- Given the complex and cross-border nature of the migration/asylum crises, international cooperation and solidarity are indispensable in order to find a solution. All countries should exert joint efforts in order to prevent and overcome the problems brought by migration/asylum crises.

- The fight against migrant smugglers and human traffickers, should definitely be intensified. However, “security measures” without overly addressing the root causes of irregular migration, such as economic, political, social instabilities and conflicts, would only yield temporary and limited success.

- We are of the opinion that sustainable solution to irregular migration can only be attained if the “push factors” such as wars and conflicts, human rights violations and economic deprivation in many of the origin countries are prevented.

- Therefore, it is of utmost importance that destination countries support peace processes and promote peaceful settlement of disputes in conflict-affected areas and to step up humanitarian aid and development investments in the countries of transit and origin with a view to improve standards of living in these countries.

- Turkey is ready to cooperate with all relevant parties to overcome the migration crisis, while believing in the necessity of finding a sustainable solution that requires a shared responsibility.

- With this understanding, Turkey has made a proposal to the UNSG for the inclusion of the item “Global awareness of the tragedies of irregular migrants in the Mediterranean basin with a specific emphasis on Syrian asylum-seekers” in the Agenda of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Our proposal was accepted by the General Assembly on 18th September 2015.

- This agenda item will present a unique opportunity for the international community to discuss, within the UN, what viable responses and solutions could be provided for the irregular migrants in the Mediterranean Basin through pragmatic partnerships between countries of origin, destination and transit.

- Furthermore, the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) Summit to be held in Istanbul on 14-16 October 2015 under the Turkish Chairmanship, will also provide us with a great opportunity to discuss the migration issue at the global level.