Refugee crisis needs joint solution: EU Turkey rapporteur

Refugee crisis needs joint solution: EU Turkey rapporteur

ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Refugee crisis needs joint solution: EU Turkey rapporteur

European Parliament’s Turkey rapporteur Kati Piri speaks to Anadolu Agency on Dec. 9, 2015. AA Photo

Europe was wrong to ignore Turkey’s refugee crisis situation for so long, the European Parliament’s Turkey rapporteur Kati Piri has told Anadolu Agency.

“Europe, for a very long time, did not look at Turkey’s situation, because there was no refugee problem for Europe. Now, we are forced to find a joint solution,” Piri said, adding that Turkey had made “great efforts” in the refugee crisis.  

“Let’s use this opportunity to see how we can improve the life of the refugees here. Turkey has already done a lot. We all agree that more can be done,” she added.

Turkey officially hosts more than 2 million Syrians fleeing the civil war that has been ongoing since 2011.

“We cannot solve this crisis in two or three months. Everyone has to be realistic. Turkey has already been dealing with this problem for four-and-a-half years. The situation in Syria is not going to disappear soon,” Piri said, while underlining that if no solution is found to the Syria conflict, there will be no solution to the refugee crisis. 

On the subject of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the EU rapporteur said cooperation was essential to combat an “international threat.” 

“This is an issue where we clearly need to cooperate. This is something that no country can fight alone … It should be clear that this is something we have to tackle jointly,” Piri said, adding that Turkey, as a NATO member and EU membership candidate, was a “natural ally” in this fight. 

She also recalled the similarities between the terrorist attacks in Paris on Nov. 13, which killed 130 people and left dozens of others injured, and the ISIL-planned twin suicide blasts in the Turkish capital Ankara on Oct. 10, which killed more than 100 people. 

Meanwhile, Piri expressed appreciation for the Turkish government’s efforts to deescalate tension with Russia after Turkey shot down a Russian jet for violating Turkish airspace on Nov. 24. “I very much hope that the recent tensions that have surfaced between Russia and Turkey can be solved.” Piri said.