Turkey deserves greater acknowledgement for the work it has done to help refugees, the head of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) William Lacy Swing has said.
There are currently 3.1 million refugees living in Turkey, according to the Directorate General for Migration Management. Most - 2.8 million - are Syrians who fled their country's six-year conflict. Turkey has spent around $25 billion helping and sheltering refugees during that period.
In the U.S., less than 12,000 Syrians have been resettled since the war began, according to the State Department, and in Russia just 7,000 have been given homes, the Federal Migration Service has said.
"Much more public acknowledgement and attention has to be made for the very generous work that Turkey - both the Turkish government and the Turkish people - has done to hold the largest refugee hosting in the world," IOM Director Swing told Anadolu Agency.
According to the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), Turkey has allocated at least $12 billion to humanitarian relief for Syria since 2011 - compared to $512 million from the international community.
Refugees in Turkey have been provided with free healthcare and education, according to AFAD, and also have access to the job market. Nearly 260,000 Syrians are housed in 26 temporary camps where they also have access to schools, hospitals, job training and sports facilities. Around 80,000 Syrian children have been schooled in AFAD centers since the war broke out, with many taught in Arabic to overcome language barriers. According to AFAD, 510,000 refugee children have been given the chance to continue their education in Turkey.The IOM, which began its operations in Turkey in the aftermath of the Gulf War in 1991, has provided psychological counseling for 23,000 traumatized refugee children but is limited by a lack of resources, Swing said.
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