EU envoy calls on other countries to follow Turkish lead on refugees

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 19.04.2019 00:15

Ankara's success in handling the overwhelming number of Syrian refugees in the country continues to receive appreciation from all around the world with EU Delegation Vice Chairman Gabriel Munuera Vinals Thursday urging other countries to take note of what Turkey has done and follow suit.

"Turkey hosted Syrian refugees with extraordinary success. It has been very generous with the refugees. Turkey has a lot of stories to tell to the whole world. Other countries may take inspiration from Turkey and improve their work," Vinals said in a conference on migration and education.

Saying that Turkey hosts the highest number of Syrian refugees in the world, Vinals underscored that the humanitarian situation in Syria not only concerns Turkey but also concerns all the international community, especially EU.

Pointing out that education poses particular importance for the refugees, Vinals added that EU has allocated 1.5 billion euros ($1.69 billion) for the education of refugees.

Speaking at the same conference, Deputy of Minister of Education Reha Denemeç emphasized that the project of "Promoting Integration of Syrian Children into Turkish Education System (PICTES)," a two-year-program initiated by Turkey and financed by the European Community, changed the lives of several refugee children.

"Looking at the situation from a systematic point of view, the biggest issue that we need to address after the Syrian crisis is the inclusion of the Syrian population, of which half is in the education age or the preschool age, into the education system," Denemeç stated.

Denemeç stressed that 62.5 percent of Syrian children are going to schools while this schooling figure corresponds to 91 percent in primary education, thanks to PICTES. Touching upon future projects to be implemented, Denemeç added the ministry is currently working toward building more than 220 schools in 19 provinces.

The civil war in neighboring Syria has saddled Turkey with the task of addressing challenges stemming from the ongoing crisis. Pursuing an open door policy, Turkey has been hosting over 3.5 million refugees more than any other country in the world. With the aim of meeting the needs of refugees, the country has spent more than $32 billion from its own national resources. Aside from meeting the basic needs of refugees, Ankara has been focusing on providing education to refugee children with an aim of giving them a better future and exerting efforts for the socio-economic integration of refugees within the country.

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