The Turkish president on Sunday marked World Refugee Day by calling upon developed countries to do more than just sending humanitarian aid.

In his message, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said there are over 82 million internally displaced people and over 26 million refugees worldwide, and the increasing numbers over the last nine years show the world is facing a global refugee crisis.

Mentioning that the ongoing instability in Afghanistan and Syria has driven millions of Syrians and Afghans from their homes, he said the situation is no different in sub-Saharan Africa and Myanmar.

“Our country, throughout its history dating back centuries, has always received with open arms all the innocent and oppressed people and embraced all those who have asked it for refuge without any discrimination of religion, language, race or origin,” he said.

“Turkey is currently a safe haven for nearly four million refugees, 3.7 million of them Syrians. These sacrifices by Turkey have saved both human dignity and the lives of victimized and innocent people.”

He said that in 2021, the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, an environment of cooperation and solidarity on a global scale is yet to be achieved.

Referring to the migration policies and practices in the developed countries, Erdogan said: “Developed countries not only reject fair sharing of burden and responsibility but also try to transfer their international responsibilities to third countries.”

Stressing that the solution to the refugee crisis is not only to send humanitarian aid to the people struggling to hold on to life, he said efforts must be made to eliminate the reasons that compel refugees and asylum-seekers to migrate, to end conflicts and instability, and to repatriate these people to their homes.

“I wish that World Refugee Day contributes to the solution of all problems of asylum-seekers, whose suffering and distress have increased with the coronavirus epidemic,” he said.

“On this occasion, I, on behalf of myself and my nation, greet all the refugees, first and foremost our Palestinian brothers and sisters, who have been longing to get reunited with their lands for decades.”

*Writing by Ahmet Gencturk

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