Turkey praised for care given to Syrian refugees
LONDON - Anadolu Agency
Turkey continues to provide top care and protection to more than 3 million Syrian refugees in the country, attendees of a U.K. parliamentary event hosted by the Ankara-linked Yunus Emre Institute heard on May 9.
The event examined the work of the Turkish state and Turkish and international NGOs in accepting Syrian refugees and integrating them into Turkish society.
The session was hosted by Matthew Saltmarsh, a senior external relations officer at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Abby Dwommoh, a public information officer and spokeswoman for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Ibrahim Vurgun Kavlak, general coordinator at the Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants (ASAM).
“When I give presentations like this, I often ask the audience: Which country is the largest host of refugees in the world?” Saltmarsh said at the event.
“The answer is varied, but very rarely is it Turkey ... But of course, no country has done more to shelter the homeless and shocked population of Syria than Turkey,” he said.
Saltmarsh praised the Turkish Parliament for passing the Temporary Protection Regulation in 2014 that allows Syrian nationals to be admitted into Turkey, apply to the Turkish state for protection, and prevents them from being sent back to Syria. It also grants them a number of rights such as free healthcare and education and the right to work.
“Where Turkey differs slightly from other countries in the region is that the government very much takes the lead in the refugee response, coordinating the efforts of U.N. agencies,” Saltmarsh said, praising the Turkish government’s handling of the refugee crisis.
“We are proud to be in a partnership with the Turkish government in providing aid and assistance to refugees, both Syrian and non-Syrian alike,” adding that the IOM “has helped set up centers along the southeastern region of Turkey with the assistance of the Turkish government,” said Dwommoh.
According to the UNHCR, Turkey hosts up to 3.6 million Syrian refugees as well as hundreds of thousands from Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq, a figure that represents 4 percent of the Turkish population.
Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees in the world and spends more per capita GDP on the wellbeing of refugees than any other nation in the world.