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‘Turkey fully complying with its international obligations’

Jul 31,2019 - Last updated at Jul 31,2019

The news which was published in your newspaper on 31 July 2019 titled, “Deported from Turkey, Syrians return to unfamiliar country” has compelled me to clear out some points.

Turkey is the largest refugee-hosting country in the world, with around 4 million externally displaced persons, including more than 3.6 million Syrians, who are under temporary protection.

At a time when many countries are turning a blind-eye to the plight of refugees and hiding behind barbed wires and walls, Turkey has opened its doors for millions of Syrians. Turkey has not only protected these vulnerable people, but also provided wide range of services, including free education and healthcare, vocational training and social services. 

So far, Turkey has spent more than $37 billion for the well-being of Syrians, including municipalities and Turkish NGOs.

There are more than 1 million school-age Syrian children in Turkey. Till date, more than 1.7 million surgeries were conducted on Syrians. Two million Syrians had inpatient treatment. Turkish clinics received over 34 million Syrian applications. In addition, a total of 444,000 Syrian babies were born in Turkish hospitals over the last eight years. All these services provided free of charge.

While this has been the case, we regret to see allegations claiming that Turkey is deporting or forcibly returning Syrians. Those, who are ignoring the everyday tragedies of refugees and migrants, do not have the right to criticise Turkey. These claims are not true.

Today, the number of Syrians in Istanbul is much higher than those who are actually registered in the city. In other words, many Syrians, who are registered in other cities, are now living in Istanbul. There are also unregistered Syrians in the city. Therefore, lawful measures are in place in Istanbul to send Syrians back to their registered provinces in Turkey. Syrians who do not have any registration in Turkey, are being placed in a city in Turkey by taking into account many parameters by relevant authorities. Allegations to the contrary are groundless.

Turkey is fully complying with its international obligations, primarily with regard to the principle of “non-refoulement” of 1951 Geneva Convention.

Turkey attaches importance to safe and voluntary returns of Syrians to their country. So far, over 335,000 Syrians in Turkey voluntarily returned to Syria to the areas cleared from the terrorist threat by our operations Olive Branch and Euphrates Shield.

 

Orkun Ersoy
Counsellor,
Deputy Head of Mission
Embassy of the Republic of Turkey

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