Turkey, Politics

Turkish PM: 75,000 Syrians have returned to their homes

Turkish PM says Syrians have returned to their normal lives in areas liberated from terrorist groups Daesh and PKK

15.12.2017
Turkish PM: 75,000 Syrians have returned to their homes Turkey’s prime minister Binali Yildirim

By Kubra Chohan

ANKARA 

Turkey’s prime minister said on Friday that about 75,000 Syrians have returned to land liberated from the terrorist groups Daesh and the PKK, including substantial areas of Syria made safe by Turkish army operations. 

“Things are improving in Syria, slowly getting back on track. With [Operation] Euphrates Shield, we have cleared an area of 2,000 square kilometers from Daesh and the PKK,” Binali Yildirim told a migration and adaptation symposium in the capital Ankara. 

“Our 75,000 Syrian brothers have gone back to that area, settled down, and returned to their normal lives.”

Last year, Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield, a military campaign aimed at clearing Daesh terrorists from the Turkish-Syrian border region. 

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating civil war that began in 2011. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict and millions more displaced, according to the UN.

Turkey currently hosts 3.2 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world. 

“As of December 2017, 976,000 of the Syrians in our country consist of school-aged children.  We give education to 612,000 of them in public schools, temporary education and accommodation centers,” Yildirim said. 

The schooling rate for Syrian children reached 65 percent in the 2017-2018 from 30 percent in 2016, the premier added.

He emphasized that 3.7 million people from 91 different countries reside in Turkey under “international protection status”.

“Processes related to humanitarian aid and asylum seekers in the world are now starting to give a red alert," Yildirim said.

Migration policy

He criticized the migration policy of European countries for seeing the issue as “a security problem rather than a humanitarian one”.

Yildirim said: “All obstruction work, increased border controls, barbed wires, high walls do not reduce the number of asylum seekers or migrants. These activities, on the contrary, encourage and promote irregular migration even more.

Unfortunately, as a result many people are drowning in the seas and paying a heavy price” "In this regard, countries should combine their opportunities with more sound and constructive approaches and seek solutions to this global issue,” Yildirim added.

In one year, over 2 million calls have been made to YIMER, a call center for foreigners in Turkey, Yildirim said.

“We have prevented 8,000 people from drowning by providing translation services to security forces,” Yildirim said.

According to its website, YIMER provides 24/7 services in seven languages to save victims of human trafficking through emergency help line.

The service providers answer all questions of the foreigners about visa, residence permit, international protection and temporary protection.

Yildirim once again criticized U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement of his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israeli’s capital and relocate Washington’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

He said that the decision has rewarded Israel, while, “unfortunately, the oppressed Palestinian people being persecuted by Israel are once again punished”.

Trump’s decision has angered many leaders and activists across the world, fearing it could fatally damage hopes for peace in the Middle East.

This week an Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in Istanbul recognized East Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital -- condemning Trump’s decision -- and urged all other nations to do the same.

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