A United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) representative in Turkey said on Tuesday that the comprehensive legal framework in the country facilitates the international organization's investment for refugees in different areas.
Speaking at an event in Ankara, jointly organized by the Research Center on Asylum and Migration (İGAM) and the Turkish Journalist Association (TGC), Katharina Lumpp, UNHCR Turkey representative, stressed Turkey's position as the largest refugee host country.
Lumpp said that the country very proactively engages in the process of global consultation on refugees.
She also drew attention to the drastic increase in the number of refugees, especially in the last five years, saying that 68 million are displaced globally due to conflicts, civil wars and human rights violations.
Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees worldwide, with 3.5 million people, the majority being those who fled the Syrian civil war.
Lumpp praised Turkey's legislation and system and its efforts in various areas including education, healthcare and social services toward refugees, adding that many of practices of Turkey on refugees provided "a significant input in diplomatic consultations."
"Turkey has, unlike many large refugee-host countries, a comprehensive legal framework for temporary and international protection [for refugees]. It has been working progressively as it is a very young legislation adopted in 2014," she said.
In April 2013, Turkey's first ever asylum law, the Law on Foreigners and International Protection, was endorsed by the Parliament and entered into force on April 11, 2014. The law sets out the main pillars of Turkey's national asylum system and established the Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM) as the main entity in charge of policy making and proceedings for all foreigners in Turkey.
Turkey also adopted the Temporary Protection Regulation on Oct. 22, 2014, which sets out the rights and obligations along with procedures for those who are granted temporary protection.
Since then, refugee children were given the right to attend public schools in Turkey and refugees gained the right to work legally.
Also, since 2013, health care services have been provided for Syrians all over the country.
Lumpp added that these regulations allow U.N. agencies and donor countries and partners to support the "system" when assisting refugees.
"It is also strengthening the national system and capacities in education, health care and social services," she said.
Highlighting the importance of Turkey's efforts on a registration and identification system for Syrians and others in the country seeking protection, Lumpp said that another aspect that Turkey has also promoted "very strongly" is its investment in refugees wanting access to higher education.
"One important aspect, which is maybe something not so visible here, is that Turkey is one of the few host countries that deliberately prioritizes investment in higher education by providing university scholarships to refugees. Normally, only about 1 percent of the refugee population globally has access to university education. In Turkey, it is 3-4 percent," she said.