Poland and Turkey vow for conflict resolution in the region

WITOLD WASZCZYKOWSKI*
Published 20.04.2016 23:54
Updated 21.04.2016 00:04

Enjoying diplomatic relations for over 600 years, Poland and Turkey share an exceptional friendship virtually unmatched in political history. In the 19th century, it was the Ottoman Empire that created a safe-haven in Adampol - or Polonezköy - for Polish soldiers after the November Uprising of 1831. To this day, Poles remember this act of solidarity. And we admire the enormous service that Turkey is doing today in providing shelter to millions of Syrian refugees. Poles, too, feel the need to show solidarity with those in need, whether they be earthquakes survivors, civilians escaping the conflict in Ukraine or Syrian refugees fleeing to the safety of neighboring countries.

Since the start of the Syrian civil war, Poland, itself feeling the effects of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict on its eastern border, has provided material and financial assistance through international humanitarian organizations, Polish nongovernmental organizations and diplomatic missions. This year we have allocated 3 million euros to the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis (MADAD), which we believe will help tackle the regional consequences of the crisis. We also participate financially in the March 18 EU-Turkey agreement on the migration problem.

As Prime Minister Beata Szydlo told the Supporting Syria Conference in London, Poland's priority is to help refugees who are situated in countries neighboring Syria as well as internally displaced people in Syria itself.

The young ripped away from their homeland have to be given hope. For Poles, talk of a lost generation of Syrians brings back painful memories of our own war-torn history. That is why we focus on educational projects such as the joint initiative in Lebanon with the German government to improve learning conditions for Syrian refugees. We have to train them for the rebuilding mission that will await them in their homeland.

Until then, we need to redouble our efforts to end the conflict. Together with the EU, U.N. and NATO we have made efforts to forge lasting peace in the Middle East. We will continue to do everything in our power to help restore stability to the region together with our longtime friend Turkey and other allies.

* Minister of Foreign Affairs, Poland

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