Italy calls for joint action with Turkey in tackling refugee crisis
Deniz Çiyan - ISTANBULItaly has proposed tackling the challenges of various aspects of the refugee crisis together with Turkey in order to achieve a comprehensive and lasting solution to the issue.
“I think that here in the oriental part of the Mediterranean and on our side – the western part of the Mediterranean – only by confronting the challenges together can we find a solution [to the refugee crisis],” Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Mario Giro told the Hürriyet Daily News on the sidelines of the U.N. World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul on May 23. “We are doing [working] alone, Turkey is [working] alone but this is not the future.”
Giro said the cooperation between the two sides also needed to be established as other factors causing people to migrate apart from war and conflict – such as climate change and a state’s economic situation – were to continue for many more years and that these problems needed to be confronted in the long run.
“Also because apart from the war in Syria, the other causes of migration, climate change and economic migration, will continue and we will have to confront structural problem for decades,” Giro said.
Giro said Italy had currently been abandoned in its fight against the wave of migrants coming especially from Libya.
“We are proposing a migration compact to the European Union in order to confront the humanitarian crisis and the refugee and migration crisis in a comprehensive way,” Giro said. “That means not only the urgency response but also the big investments in order to fill in the gap of the quickness of the influx and the slowness of the development.”
Stating that Italy had already doubled its humanitarian aid in 2016, Giro said they were continuing to increase their financial budget to meet this end, and also pledged to double their contribution to the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Giro said the EU needed to hold a comprehensive discussion with Turkey and open Chapters 23 and 24 of Turkey’s EU bid, adding that the Turkey-EU deal was not a question of exchange in which one side gives a visa waiver in exchange for curbing refugee flow.
“It’s not a question of exchange. We have to engage seriously with Turkey,” said Giro. “That is why we need to seriously engage all the chapters we can as soon as possible.”