Turkey is a ‘very good’ host to refugees: UNHCR


Syrian refugees are seen at refugee camp grocery in Suruc district of Sanliurfa ( Halil Fidan – Anadolu Agency )

By Bayram Altug


UN High Commissioner for Refugees on Tuesday said the world should acknowledge that Turkey has been a “very good host” to more than 3 million refugees residing in the country.

In remarks to Anadolu Agency on World Refugee Day, Filippo Grandi said although Turkey was hosting the highest number of Syrian refugees in the world, followed by Iraqis and Afghans, it had yet to receive enough support from the international community.

Grandi said that the EU had sent very little money to UN institutions to support the refugees in Turkey, which, he said “has spent a serious amount of money” so far in order to meet the needs of those staying at camps, and others including educational and health needs.

According to UN, Turkey is the top refugee host in the world, being home to nearly 3 million Syrian refugees. This number accounts for over 50 percent of the 5.5 million Syrian refugees in the world.

Turkey has so far spent $25 billion on the refugees, while receiving only $725 million from the European Union, and $550 million from the UN Refugee Agency, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in April. But Turkey will continue to help out refugees “with or without outside help,” he added.

– Call to embrace refugees

In a statement issued to mark World Refugee Day earlier in the day, Grandi said: “We honour the resilience and courage of more than 65 million people who have been forced to flee war, persecution and violence.

“But it’s also a moment to recognize those communities and people around the world who receive refugees and the internally displaced in their midst, offering them a safe place, and welcoming them in their schools, their workplaces and their societies.”

Emphasizing the uncertainty, economic instability, political upheaval and violence around the world, he noted “fear and exclusion will not lead us to a better place – they can only lead to barriers, alienation and despair. It’s time to change this trajectory. And for the better.”

Grandi called on everyone to embrace refugees, saying “Inclusion requires opening our minds, hearts and communities to refugees.”

“It requires a whole of society approach – joining up students, business leaders, athletes, activists, religious leaders, politicians and artists – to share responsibility. And welcoming refugees cannot be at the expense of helping others, but should broaden support to all who need a hand.

“So on World Refugee Day, when we pause to contemplate the fate of the millions of people who cannot return to their homes tonight because of war or persecution – it’s also a moment to ask ourselves what each of us can do to overcome indifference or fear and embrace the idea of inclusion, to welcome refugees,” he said.

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