Turkey Saturday marked World Refugee Day by calling on the international community to show solidarity with refugees and asylum seekers during the coronavirus pandemic.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Twitter: “Turkey will continue to protect all the oppressed victims, regardless of their faith, language and descent, and be their voice in the international arena.”
“On behalf of my country and nation, I greet my refugee brothers who were forcibly displaced from their lands on June 20 World Refugee Day,” Erdoğan added.
Turkey ranks first among the refugee-hosting countries with 4 million refugees, the majority of whom are Syrians who fled the brutal civil war in their country.
Vice President Fuat Oktay also marked World Refugee Day.
“We will continue to be a hope for the oppressed and homeland for the refugees regardless of religion, language, race and sect,” Oktay said on Twitter.
“We hope that the World Refugee Day will lead to a period in which the number of refugees will decrease, durable solutions both in terms of quality and quantity will increase and further solidarity with these people by host countries will be displayed,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Underlining that COVID-19 has further exacerbated the conditions of the vulnerable persons, it said protecting refugees and asylum seekers and ensuring their rapid and efficient access to basic services, especially health-care have become even more essential.
Turkey, as the largest refugee-hosting country in the world, has taken necessary measures to protect these people and inform them on the pandemic, it added.
It also stressed that Turkey drew attention to the situation of refugees during the pandemic and emphasized the need for international cooperation.
“Improving the living conditions of refugees and asylum seekers and finding durable solutions to their problems are common responsibility and duty of the international community,” it said, calling on all stakeholders, especially donor countries, to take action in line with more equitable burden and responsibility-sharing.
It also invited all stakeholders to implement the U.N.’s Global Compact on Refugees initiative established in 2018.
“We would like to recall that the right to seek asylum emanating from international law cannot be invoked, refugees and asylum seekers may not be subjected to inhumane treatment and cannot be pushed back and in this regard, while all countries should respect their obligations in line with international human rights declarations and the 1951 Geneva Convention,” it said.