Bern Büyükelçiliği 21.09.2015

- After more than 4,5 years of conflict and suffering, Syrian crisis has become the world’s largest humanitarian tragedy. Almost half of the country’s population, close to 12 million men, women and children have been displaced.

- Sharing not only a border of 911 km, but also history and culture, Turkey pursue an “open door” policy for Syrians without any form of discrimination and strictly complies with the principle of non-refoulement.

- According to the UNHCR, Turkey is the biggest refugee-hosting country in the world. The total number of Syrians living in Turkey reached over 2 million (Registered: 2.016.687 as of 18 September 2015).

- Turkey has so far spent almost 6,7 billion US Dollars, whereas the total contributions received bilaterally and multilaterally from the international community so far have been limited to 417 million USD. This is not sustainable.

- It is neither possible nor just to expect from Turkey, to face the migratory pressures, as well as risks and threats emanating from Syria, alone. By providing protection, assistance and services to the Syrians, Turkey indeed upholds “the European values” much better than the EU countries.

- 260.000 Syrians are accommodated in 25 temporary protection centers and provided with food, non-food items, health and education services as well as psychological assistance, vocational training and social activities. In addition to that, 1.8 million Syrians who live outside these centers are also under Turkey’s protection regime and they benefit from free medical services. There are almost 600.000 school-age Syrian children in Turkey and more than 400.000 of them miss on schooling. New schools, classrooms and teachers are urgently needed. In this regard, proper funding for the implementation of UN “No Lost Generation Strategy” would be helpful. The UN Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) for the period 2015-2016 which emphasizes on resilience will give an opportunity to alleviate the heavy burden on Syria’s neighboring countries. Although the total amount requested for Turkey is 624 million USD, so far only 185 million USD (30%) has been funded.

- As the number of Syrians that are seeking safety and refuge in Europe, by taking dangerous journeys across the Mediterranean increased dramatically, Turkish Coast Guard has initiated an “Operation Safe Med” in the Mediterranean Sea and “Operation Aegean Hope” in the Aegean Sea in 2015 and rescued almost 55.000 migrants from sea since the beginning of 2015. The operations conducted by the Turkish Coast Guard cost 5 million Euros per month that has to be met from national resources.

- Turkey is ready to cooperate with all relevant parties to overcome the migration crisis, while believing in the necessity of finding a sustainable solution that requires a shared responsibility.

- With this understanding, Turkey has made a proposal to the UNSG for the inclusion of the item “Global awareness of the tragedies of irregular migrants in the Mediterranean basin with a specific emphasis on Syrian asylum-seekers” in the Agenda of the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly. This proposal was accepted by the General Assembly on 18th September 2015. This is a very positive development on the side of the UN.

- Furthermore, the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) Summit to be held in Istanbul on 14-16 October 2015 under the Turkish Chairmanship, will also provide us with a great opportunity to discuss the migration issue on global level.


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