Turkey's refugee policy 'very positive': UNHCR chief

Filippo Grandi says Turkey provides refugees access to education, health and social opportunities

Feride Pelin Inal   | 10.09.2021
Turkey's refugee policy 'very positive': UNHCR chief United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi speaks on refugees during his meeting with press members in Gaziantep, Turkey on September 10, 2021. Photo: Feride Pelin İnal - Anadolu Agency


Turkey's policy of providing access to education, health, and social opportunities to refugees is "very positive," the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) chief said in southeastern Turkey on Friday.

At a news conference in the Gaziantep province, Filippo Grandi said that Turkey is home to approximately 4 million refugees including 3.7 million Syrians, while Afghans, who arrived in the country before the recent crisis in their country, constituted the majority of the rest.

Having met with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as part of his official visits to the country, Grandi said he will be visiting local authorities, refugees, local institutions, and the Turkish Red Crescent in the upcoming days.

He underlined that Turkey is the country that hosts the highest number of refugees in recent years.

He said the international community and organizations should deliver necessary aid to Turkey on time.

Speaking about the situation in Syria, Grandi said a political solution in the country means a condition that allows refugees to return to their countries.

He said efforts to establish peace in Syria will continue and that humanitarian institutions will keep providing aid for the affected people until all necessary conditions are met for the refugees to return to their homes.

Syria has been ravaged by a civil war since early 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protesters.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced, according to UN estimates.

Crisis in Afghanistan

Touching on the recent developments in Afghanistan, Grandi said currently the major problem in the country is displacement.

He said that of the 3.5 million internally displaced people in Afghanistan, 500,000 were displaced due to clashes in the country, and added that the displaced people, some of whom are homeless, will be more in need of humanitarian aid with the winter approaching.

As humanitarian institutions, we will continue negotiations with the Taliban for providing access to humanitarian aid in certain regions, he said.

Underlining that some of the displaced people in Afghanistan may seek asylum in other countries, Grandi said in that case the international community should help especially the neighboring countries including Iran and Pakistan.

He said that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will call for providing aid in Afghanistan in a meeting to be held on Monday.

The Afghan people have suffered considerably over the last 50 years, with invasions by the former Soviet Union in 1979 and US forces in 2001, which lasted until their withdrawal on Aug. 31.

The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan after taking the control of the capital Kabul on Aug. 15, forcing the president and other top officials to leave the country.

On Tuesday, the Taliban announced the interim government in the country.

*Writing by Dilan Pamuk

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