Turkey a model in migration, calls for international cooperation on refugees
Oct 20, 2019 - 5:38 pm GMT+3
Oct 20, 2019 5:38 pm
In an effort to seek global cooperation and inform the world of the challenges and solutions regarding the issue of migration, the Global Refugee and Migration Congress was held in southeastern Gaziantep province last Monday. The event, which lasted for four days, hosted 265 academics from 24 countries including Turkey, the U.S., Canada, European, Far Eastern, Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) countries as well as the governor and the mayor of the province. "Migration is a matter for all of humanity. The construction of a life in accordance with human dignity depends on the implementation of immigration policies with the participation of all stakeholders and the ethical and moral responsibility of all countries of the world," the rector of Gaziantep University (GAÜN) Ali Gür stated. He emphasized that “at the individual and social levels, efforts should be made to be part of the solution, not the problem.” The congress underlined the significance of the role GAÜN undertook in enabling more than 3,000 Syrian students to receive higher education. Furthermore, the activities of the Institute for Migration and its future plans were touched upon. Speaking to Daily Sabah, Gür explained, “We wanted to strengthen the perception of the international community, by coming here, they saw the situation of the Syrians what they do and how they live – this would not be possible otherwise. They have seen that Turkey and especially Gaziantep were places where the issue of migration was handled in the most sensitive way.” As a country hosting the most Syrian refugees, nearly 3.6 million, Turkey is a role model for the world regarding migration and refugees. Faced with a heavy burden, the country expects international support.Ankara has spent nearly $40 billion so far during the eight years it has been hosting Syrian refugees and is currently struggling to establish a safe zone in northern Syria. Gaziantep Mayor Fatma Şahin stressed that migration bears humanitarian, political and economic difficulties. During the four-day congress, partnerships among participants were strengthened and new collaborations were established. “The GAÜN model will from now on be a model for the world, the many academics, which included around 20 Americans, will carry the values to their countries. Important decisions were taken especially in health and education – we will strive for every student to receive an education,” Gür said. Signifying that Syrians are not refugees but Turkey’s guests, Gür added, "Even if the world remains silent and blank, Turkey will not abstain from showing awareness. The West does not regard the tragedies and crisis these people suffer from, they react only when they are themselves the target of a threat. Unfortunately, the West perceives the world in a different way.” The Syrian refugee crisis continues to be one of the worst humanitarian tragedies in the world with 6.6 million refugees, more than half of all Syrians, having been displaced by war. The remaining 6.1 million Syrians have been driven from their homes but remain in Syria, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Nearly 50% of all registered Syrian refugees are under the age of 18 and millions have grown up knowing nothing but conflict and war. “It was highlighted that while the majority of problems related to mass migration occurred in the global south, in other words, in the developing and underdeveloped countries and regions, the global north, industrialized Western countries conduct the research in the field and it creates a gap between the reality and knowledge generated,” the 14-article final declaration of the congress concluded. On the other side, Turkey has prepared a detailed plan for the resettlement of up to 2 million Syrian refugees that want to return to their home country after a safe zone in northern Syria is established, where people will be able to live in a stable and peaceful environment. According to the plan, which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently announced, 140 villages and 10 district centers will be established within the 30-40 kilometer deep safe zone in northern Syria, housing 5,000 and 30,000 inhabitants each. The settlements will be provided with various facilities so that the people living there will be able to have normal lives with every necessity met. The construction is expected to cost about $26.6 billion. As Turkey continues its reconstruction efforts in the liberated areas of northern Syria, it is using education as one of the main pillars to bring life back to the region, which has suffered from the civil war for years. GAÜN envisages opening a faculty of economics and administrative sciences, a faculty of theology and a faculty of education in the northwestern Syrian provinces of al-Bab, Azaz and Afrin. The faculties will be the second move by Gaziantep University, as it had previously opened a vocational school last year in Aleppo's Jarabulus district.