The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees on Thursday praised Turkey's support for people fleeing war despite the "difficult times" that the country has gone through.
During a visit to Ankara, Filippo Grandi toured the Parliament building that was bombed during the July 15 coup plot. He also expressed solidarity with the families of the victims and with Turkey. Grandi also met Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and signed a Host Country Agreement, which will enhance the UNHCR's ability to cooperate with the government. This is aimed at formalizing and strengthening UNHCR's related cooperation with Turkey, along with improving international protections and humanitarian assistance for refugees. Under the agreement, the UNHCR may, with the consent of the host government, establish and maintain an office or offices in the country to help refugees.
Speaking at a news conference, Çavuşoğlu said, "We are working cooperatively with UNHCR both to ensure better living conditions for refugees in Turkey and to deliver humanitarian aid outside of Turkey, in our region and in remote locations." Grandi also pointed to improved relations with Turkey, especially after the conflicts in Syria, and expressed appreciation of the country "generously hosting" so many refugees. "Turkey alone cannot shoulder this heavy responsibility," he said, adding, "This should be shared internationally."
According to the UNHCR, Turkey hosts the largest population of refugees in the world.