Reflecting Turkey’s entrepreneurial and humanitarian understanding of foreign policy, it is the third-largest medical aid and support country in the world, said the deputy foreign minister on Monday.
Speaking via video link at a session on regional approaches to coronavirus of the Fourth Brussels Conference, Yavuz Selim Kiran said that Turkey helped 131 countries worldwide during the coronavirus pandemic.
Turkey faces the dual challenge of protecting refugees as well as contributing to international solidarity, he said.
Stressing Turkey’s success in the fight against the pandemic, he said: “We provide free healthcare to all, including refugees. This enabled us to control the outbreak, but it is not possible to achieve success in a global struggle without international solidarity in the field of health.”
“Refugees and asylum-seekers should not be subjected to inhumane treatment and should not be sent back,” he added.
Since first appearing in China last December, the novel coronavirus has killed over 469,000 people worldwide, with over 9 million confirmed cases and over 4.46 million recoveries, according to figures compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University
‘We should work together’
On displaced people in war-battered Idlib, northwestern Syria, Kiran said: “International humanitarian aid is the only guarantee of their survival.”
“We should act together, considering that the refugee crisis is a common problem for us all,” he added.
He also called on the international community to support a project for semi-permanent shelters in Idlib recently agreed to by Turkey and Germany.
Turkey ranks first among refugee-hosting countries with around 4 million refugees, most of them Syrians who fled the brutal civil war in their country.
*Writing by Havva Kara Aydin
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