Even though main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu promised last year to send nearly 3 million Syrian refugees back to their hometowns if the party won the elections, the CHP's ad hoc committee to examine problems of migration revealed their Refugee Report, which suggests establishing a "Migration and Integration Ministry" to provide assistance to refugees and support them.
Speaking at CHP headquarters on Monday, CHP Deputy Chairman Veli Ağbaba said that the ad hoc committee had been working on the report since its establishment last September and that during the process of writing the report the committee conducted hundreds of meetings and visits. Explaining that the refugees who are granted temporary protection are permanent in Turkey, he added: "Turkey should remove its clause of geographic limitation from the 1951 Geneva Convention."
Emphasizing the importance of helping refugees who want to return to their country, Ağbaba said there should be regulations in the Law on Municipality to help refugees integrate them into society and access public services. "A Migration and Integration Ministry should be established in order to integrate refugees into the community and society with the help of comprehensive policies," Ağbaba said.
The suggestion to establish a new ministry is a significant change in the CHP's policies on refugees. Prior to the June 7, 2015 general elections, Kılıçdaroğlu pledged that the CHP would send nearly 2 million Syrian refugees who fled the civil war in their country back if it came to power. "[The CHP] will send our Syrian brothers back. We will say to them: 'Sorry, but go back to your hometown. We have humanity in our hearts. We love people. We respect people. This is our core ideology," Kılıçdaroğlu said on April 23, 2015.
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