Ankara rejects Amnesty International's claims on Syrians in Turkey

Ankara rejects Amnesty International's claims on Syrians in Turkey

ANKARA-Anadolu Agency
Ankara rejects Amnesty Internationals claims on Syrians in Turkey

Turkey on Oct. 25 rejected the allegations by Amnesty International that Syrians in Turkey were forcibly repatriated, threatened, and mistreated, calling the claims “unreal and fictional”. 

"We reject the allegations in the report published today, October 25, by Amnesty International regarding Syrians under temporary protection in Turkey,” said Hami Aksoy, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry.

Aksoy emphasized that Turkey hosts nearly 4 million displaced people, including more than 3.6 million Syrians, at a period when many countries were building walls at their borders and hiding behind barbed wire.

“While hosting these people in the best manner, we fully respect the principle of non-refoulement in line with our international obligations,” Aksoy said, adding that there was no change in Turkey’s approach.

“In this respect, claims in the report that Syrians are forcibly sent back, threatened and subjected to mistreatment are unreal and fictional.”

Aksoy pointed out that Turkish authorities were carrying out the process of safe and voluntary return of Syrians to their country in cooperation with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and non-governmental organizations.

Aksoy noted that around 365,000 Syrians voluntarily returned to areas cleared of terrorism by Turkey in Syria.

“Turkey reiterates at every occasion that the return of refugees should take place voluntarily and safely and that this process should be conducted in line with international law,” he said.

“We believe that if necessary humanitarian and physical infrastructure and security conditions are met in Syria, Syrians can return to their country,” he added.

On Oct. 9, Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

“We consider that the international community has an important responsibility in facilitating the process of safe and voluntary return of Syrians,” Aksoy said, stressing that Turkey would continue to take the necessary steps to improve the living conditions of Syrians.

Meanwhile, the Directorate General of Migration Management said on Oct. 25 that the claim of Syrians being deported to Syria unlawfully did not reflect the truth and voluntary returns were provided in accordance with international law.

"As of October 17, 2019, there are approximately 4 million asylum seekers in Turkey,” the agency said in a statement. “Of these, 3 million 674 thousand 588 are Syrians under temporary protection.”

It criticized the unfair attacks of the policies implemented by Turkey that so far outshines efforts and dedication in this area.

Temporary protection of the Syrians who have left Turkey voluntarily has come to terms due to voluntary repatriation and returns are provided in accordance with international law.

"In this context, a total of 364,663 people have returned voluntarily," the statement said.

Turkey has been a key transit point for irregular migrants who want to get to Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

The illegal migration trend gained momentum with unrest in the Middle East, especially since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011.