Turkey uses sports to address Syrian refugee crisis
ANTALYA- Anadolu Agency
More than 300 sports facilities are open to Turkish and Syrian citizens all year round, Turkey's youth and sports minister said on April 12.
“Sports is one of the most important tools to extend brotherhood and peace and make this world a better place," said Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoğlu at a NATO meeting in the Mediterranean province of Antalya.
More than 75,000 Turkish and Syrian teenagers across 19 provinces participated in sports and cultural activities between 2016 and 2018, he said, adding that they are aiming to reach 100,000 youths until 2020.
Kasapoğlu noted 3.5 million Syrian refugees are currently living in Turkey and $33 billion have been spent on them.
“As a country, civilization and culture, there is no concept of 'the other' in our people,” Kasapoğlu added.
Jean-Louis De Brouwer, a director at the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations of the European Commission, said the Syrian crisis led to “the worst urban distraction” since the Second World War.
He added one of EU's four pillars of tackling the refugee issue is improving socio-economic conditions in the countries of origin.
The second pillar covers “stronger border management” by the EU countries, while the third is “to promote legal migration and integration.”
The fourth pillar is the “ongoing reform on EU asylum system as well as increasing the resettlement of refugees inside the EU,” he added.