Turkey’s Erdoğan urges global response to refugee crisis
The only way to deal with the growing refugee problem in the world is to give a global response, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, reiterating Ankara’s calls to the world powers for developing a joint project for the resettlement of the Syrian refuges to their homeland.
“A sustainable solution to this problem that pricks the world’s conscience can only be found through steps to be taken at the global level,” Erdoğan told the first Global Refugee Forum held under the auspices of the United Nations in Geneva on Dec. 17.
Erdoğan addressed the forum as the co-chairman and as the leader of a country that hosts around 5 million refugees, 3.7 million of which are Syrians who fled their homeland due to violence and civil war.
Underlining that Turkey is one of the leading countries that is bearing the cost of hosting millions of refugees, Erdoğan recalled that Turkey has never abandoned its open gate policy for those who are escaping from violence.
“While those countries who have better economic conditions have imposed quotas with 10 digits for refugees, we have opened our arms to all of them regardless their race, religion, language and sect,” he stressed.
Turkey has spent nearly $40 billion for the refugees and the European Union’s pledge was just more than 2 billion euros.
“It’s obvious that the refugee problem cannot be solved just through the efforts of a few countries that are doing their best for this people,” Erdoğan said, urging steps at the global level.
“We observe that we are still far away from global ownership (of the refugee problem). We attach importance to the implementation of the Global Refugee Memorandum that was approved in the past year,” he stressed.
Burden sharing a must
Erdoğan also underlined that the continued presence of the refugees on the Turkish soils cannot be presented as a solution to the problem and called on the other countries for sharing the burden.
A solution to the problem should include formulations to keep the refugees in their homelands and find ways to let them return, Erdoğan stated.
“We have long been suggesting the establishment of terror-free and violence-free safe areas inside Syria. Many of our Western friends have opted to look at the issue from just security and interest point of view. They endorsed some wrong ideas that barbed wires may protect Europe from refugee inflow. We have even heard some proposals that would be recalled shamefully in the future, such as sinking the refugee boats,” he added.
Today, the need for a new and humane perspective in dealing with the refugee problem is much more visible, Erdoğan stressed, highlighting that there are more than 260 million migrants, 71 million displaced persons and 25 million refugees in the world.
“Only in the last seven years, 20,000 people with a majority children and women were drowned in the wild waves of the Mediterranean. Thousands of innocent people have been killed in the heat waves of the Sahara Desert. There is a very big drama behind what we call today ‘refugee problem,’” he added.