Turkey, UNHCR discuss voluntary return of Syrians

Turkey, UNHCR discuss voluntary return of Syrians

ANKARA-Anadolu Agency
Turkey, UNHCR discuss voluntary return of Syrians

Turkey and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) discussed voluntary repatriation of Syrians to their home country on Nov. 11, Turkish Foreign Ministry has said.

“Discussions took place today (11 November) in Geneva on the voluntary repatriation of Syrians between the respective teams of Turkey and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) [...]," the ministry said in a written statement.

It added that the meeting held under the auspices of Turkey's Deputy Foreign Minister Yavuz Selim Kıran and Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Gillian Triggs.

The ministry noted that follow-up discussions will be held in Turkey, without specifying a date.

“Turkey, hosting the largest refugee population in the world, remains committed to working with UNHCR on all refugee matters, including durable solutions for Syrians,” it added.

The talks were "fruitful," according to Kıran, who spoke to state-run Anadolu Agency over the meeting.

“This situation is not sustainable anymore. So, we met today as two delegations, as two teams. We addressed these problems in a long and fruitful discussion,” he said.

Kıran said Turkey wants to host the second meeting.

On the Global Refugee Forum to be held in Geneva on Dec. 17-18, he said Turkey views the event as an important step to prevent the delay of the planned international donors forum over the voluntary return of Syrians.

"We want to move fast," Kıran added.

"Inflicting the burden of the refugees only on a few countries is not a sustainable, endurable and tolerable situation," he stated.

Turkey has taken exemplary steps and made great efforts over the issue, the official stressed.

He said Turkey has spent over $40 billion for the refugees in Turkey.

"The legitimacy and necessity of the return of the refugees are not questionable anymore," Kıran stressed.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, over 5 million civilians have become refugees. Turkey hosts 3.6 million of them, more than any country in the world.