Turkey may offer refuge to Ukrainian artists, scientists and athletes
Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February, more than 3.3 million Ukrainians have escaped their country, and nearly 50,000 Ukrainians have arrived in Turkey.
Not only Ukrainians but also Russian citizens are seeking refugee in Turkey. It is estimated that around 14,000 Russians have left their country for Turkey within a space of three weeks.
Turkey has reached out to the ombudsmen of the Western nations and particularly the countries neighboring Ukraine to offer Ankara’s help to deal with the wave of Ukrainian refugees by sharing its own experience, Malkoç told daily Milliyet.
In response to a question whether Turkey would bring Ukrainian artists, scientists and athletes who have been affected by the war to the country, Malkoç said Ankara raised this issue in a letter addressed to other countries’ ombudsmen. “If we get a positive response, our experts will travel to the region and hold talks regarding this matter,” he added.
Malkoç stressed that Turkey has vast experience in dealing with the refugee problem but nations such as Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Moldova, which have seen a wave of displaced people from Ukraine, lack such an experience. “We need to take care of this humanitarian crisis together.”
Ukrainian-Russian dancer couple in Antalya
Meanwhile, a Ukrainian-Russian dancer couple who fled from Ukraine has taken refuge in the Turkish province of Antalya. They are now living in the backstage of the Aspendos Arena, where once they performed together years ago.
Ukrainian Iryna Balakhonova and her Russian partner, Alexander Balakhonov, arrived in Turkey with their two children and their mother after a six-day journey.
They met and married in 2014 in Turkey when they danced together at the famous Anadolu Ateşi (the Fire of Anatolia) dance group. The couple moved to Ukraine in 2017.
They were living in the Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv when the Russian invasion began. They immediately contacted their friends from the Anadolu Ateşi to seek help.
After a six-day journey, the family arrived in Antalya. Their friends from the dance group rearranged the backstage of the performance hall for the temporary accommodation of the family.
The couple is now making preparations for their dance performance.