UN commissioner to visit Turkey soon

UN commissioner to visit Turkey soon

Emine Kart ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
UN commissioner to visit Turkey soon

Guterres will visit to Turkey next week that comes as a result of Davutoğlu’s severe warning to the international community. AFP Photo

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres will pay a two-day visit to Turkey next week that comes as “a result” of Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s severe warning to the international community on the worsening humanitarian tragedy in Syria, according to Turkish diplomatic sources.

 “This is a field visit, but as a representative of the international community, he also wants to show solidarity with Turkey via a field visit,” a Turkish diplomat told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

Guterres will be in Turkey on Sept. 13-14, but Turkey is not the only stop during Guterres’ trip to the region. He plans to proceed to Jordan and Lebanon following his visit to Turkey. In Turkey he is expected visit a civilian camp in the Yayladağı district of the southern province of Hatay.

“The timing of the visit is not a coincidence as it is kind of a result of the foreign minister’s warning in New York,” the same diplomat, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said, recalling Davutoğlu’s speech delivered during a ministerial meeting of the U.N. Security Council in New York late last month.
On the sidelines of the Aug. 30 ministerial meeting in New York, which focused on the humanitarian impact of the civil war in Syria with both permanent and temporary members present, Davutoğlu held a bilateral meeting with Guterres. Syria’s neighbors were also invited to the meeting. While Jordan and Lebanon responded affirmatively, Iraq did not participate in the meeting.

“The UNHCR has been constantly praising Turkey’s efforts on the humanitarian side, yet, they are also very well aware that we have a ‘load limit’ to which we are rapidly approaching,” the Turkish diplomat said.

On Aug. 27, Davutoğlu said the number of Syrians who had fled violence and taken shelter in Turkey since March 2011 now exceeded 80,000. As of last week, some 9,000 had been stranded on the Syrian side of the border.

“It is not because we stopped them from crossing or we didn’t accept them. We have a force majeure; there is no place we can provide for these people at the moment,” a Turkish diplomat said at the time, citing the lack of space in tent cities and camps.