5 million migrants live in Turkey: Official

5 million migrants live in Turkey: Official

5 million migrants live in Turkey: Official

Turkey is currently hosting 5 million migrants, 3.6 million of whom are Syrian nationals, the general director of the country’s migration authority said on June 16.

Speaking in a live broadcast on the International Migration Film Festival’s Instagram account, Abdullah Ayaz said 3.6 million Syrians have come to Turkey since 2011, while the county saw an influx of a total of 2 million migrants from 1923 to 2011.

Some 98 percent of the Syrians in Turkey live in cities, with only 68,000 Syrians accommodating in seven camps located in five provinces. Around 400,000 Syrians went back to their country until now, according to data given by the official.

“Turkey hosts the largest migrant population in the world. The country has successfully managed the issue since the beginning of the Syrian crisis in 2011. There is no migration crisis in Turkey. Our society deserves the greatest gratitude in this regard,” he said.

“Syrians in Turkey benefit only from health services,” said Ayaz, underlining that they don’t get direct support from the state. Only 1.3 million Syrians get a monthly payment of 120 Turkish Liras via the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay) as part of a European Union financial program.

When asked about the general situation in the world, Ayaz said there are more than 270 million migrants, nearly 70 million forcibly displaced people and over 25 million refugees around the world.

“Unless we fail to eliminate the causes of migration, both we and the different parts of the world will face a migration issue,” he said, adding that some people see migration as an arbitrary movement of people.

“These are statistics. But each of these numbers, which we are skimming through quickly, represents a human life. There is lack of empathy for migrants all over the world. So, to shed light on this, we organized this film festival.”

The festival is supported by Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry and organized by the Interior Ministry under the auspices of the Turkish Presidency. The movies are available online between June 14 and 21 on www.festivalscope.com through a subscription.

In March 2016, the EU and Turkey reached an agreement to stop irregular migration through the Aegean Sea and improve the conditions of more than 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.

The deal has been successful in stemming refugee flows, but the EU’s reluctance to take in refugees from Turkey, and bureaucratic hurdles in transferring promised funds for refugees, have led to sharp criticism from Turkish politicians.

The EU had pledged 6 billion euros ($6.5 billion) in aid for the refugees, but so far transferred less than half of that, according to Ankara.

The European Commission on June 3 proposed to release a payment of 485 million euros ($545 million) for Turkey to support Syrian refugees in 2020.

Some 100 million euros ($112 million) will be allocated to Jordan and Lebanon, while Turkey receives the rest.

According to the plan, the 485-million-euro transfer will extend the functioning of two established programs in Turkey until the end of next year.

The program, Emergency Social Safety Net, provides monthly financial assistance to more than 1.7 million refugees. According to the EU’s latest data, all operational funds have been committed, 4.7 billion euros ($5.3 billion) contracted and 3.4 billion euros ($3.8 billion) disbursed.

In previous communications, the EU promised to pay 4 billion euros ($4.5 billion) by 2020.

If the current proposal is approved by the European Parliament and the EU member states, the 485 million euros will top up the 4 billion euros.

The full 6 billion euros are expected to be paid by 2025.