Turkish version of the book jointly published by Interparliamentary Union (IPU) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) under the auspices of the Presidency of GNAT titled “A Guide on International Refugee Protection and Development of National Asylum Systems” was launched at the GNAT Ceremony Hall. Mustafa Şentop, Speaker of the GNAT stated that, perhaps Turkey is the most convenient country in the world for the launching of such a book. 11.06.2019

Şentop also stated that Turkey is the country who accepts the largest number of refugees and aids them and that 3,6 million refugees who left their homes in Syria due to ongoing conflicts are being hosted in Turkey.

Şentop indicated that in Turkey where such an intense refugee population is hosted, there are serious financial and spiritual activities, “We are getting through this huge burden under the guidance of our President and with the hospitality of our government, state and citizens. Countries and states who are affected by the entrance of a few thousand immigrants, who protest them, close their borders and abuse them should learn a lesson from Turkey’s hospitable attitude.”

Şentop underlined the importance of the launching of the book in Turkey and added, “If we don’t protect the world as a viable environment for all humans both financially and spiritually, we will be constrained to an uninhabitable world where refuge, immigration and shelter will be our primal problems. The reality expressed as refuge, shelter and immigration seems like a starting point signaling us against future population projections.”

Şentop stated that the world, especially developed countries will be facing larger immigration, shelter and refuge waves within the next 50 years and continued:

“The way to overcome this risk is to establish an international order which will guarantee all people in the world to live in their own homes, in their countries with minimal humane conditions and in peace. The primary element of this is to want world peace sincerely for all humanity by all humans and to strive for it. The second element is to enable people to live in their own homes, in their countries with minimal humane conditions in an economical environment and to ensure their welfare. Regulations about refugees’, asylum seekers’ and immigrants’ fundamental rights in their destination countries and transit routes are certainly important; but it is essential to draw our attention to the real matter; we can only be at peace if the world is protected as a viable one. I am pleased to confirm and convey this message from Turkey, Ankara.

Şentop thanked the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and others who contributed to the preparation of the guide.

Gabriela Cuevas Barron, IPU President also stated that the issue of protection of refugees is among the basic work of IPU.

Barron stated that pride of humanity and human rights are under great risk and that 66 million people were displaced for various reasons and these numbers are gradually increasing.

Barron pointed out that Turkey is the country that hosts the largest number of refugees in the world, “Approximately 4 million refugees have found their second home in Turkey. We should thank Turkey for their hospitality so far. This should be reinforced and supported at all times.”

Barron expressed that we should be focusing on the reasons of immigration causing people to be forcibly displaced and added, “No one becomes a refugee willingly. There are a lot of factors causing immigration, we can not understand the significance of the issue without analyzing them.”

Barron stated that the political frame must be changed in order to transform protection of refugees into a comprehensive structure and continued:

“We should enable protection of human rights to the fullest extent and we should provide accurate procedures related to that. Therefore, in order to activate Assemblies, a strong political will is indispensable. I would like to quote an expression used in our own Assembly; you show real love with a budget. If your priorities are not reflected in the budget, then they are not your actual priorities. We should never forget our partners, local governments. We can overcome the challenges during implementation if we work together with the public. Hence, we should provide them with a budget. We can achieve this by working together directly with local governments, society and the people we represent.”

Ravza Kavakcı Kan, Head of the Turkish Delegation to IPU, Deputy for Istanbul from the Justice and Development Party stated that, “At a time when violence, discrimination, racism and especially xenophobia have reached concerning dimensions, while some countries are building walls to their borders or installing wire fences, Turkey has fulfilled its responsibilities exceedingly and continues to do so.”

Kan stated that Turkey has not been silent against practices contradicting human pride and conscience which the world had to witness regrettably and with the “open door” policy it has become the hope of millions as well as a safe haven, “We did not build walls, instead we have kept our doors open.”

Kan pointed out that due to immigration originating from the Middle East, population of other countries’ citizens in Turkey corresponds to approximately 5% of Turkey’s population and that this rate is 20% in Jordan and 25% in Lebanon respectively.

Kan mentioned that several steps have been taken in Turkey regarding the infrastructure of immigration management since the beginning of civil massacres in Syria in 2011, Directorate General of Migration Management had been established in 2013 and that various units including security, safety and immediate aid have been working in tandem.

Kan stated that with the establishment of safe zones in Syria, over 300 Syrian guests had returned to their homes and that the ultimate goal is to end the war in Syria and enable citizens to rebuild their country in peace.

Katharina Lumpp, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Turkey Representative expressed her appreciation for the launching of the Turkish version of the book titled A Guide on International Refugee Protection and Development of National Asylum Systems at the Parliament (GNAT) of the country which hosts the largest number of refugees in the world.

Lumpp highlighted the fact that out of over 70 million people who were displaced around the world, 25 million had to cross borders in order to be under protection, two third of the refugees in the world were hosted by only 10 countries and that Turkey is among those.

Lumpp reminded that after two years of negotiating, an agreement regarding protection provided for refugees within the framework of UN was prepared and added:

“In this context, providing these people the protection they deserve has been determined as a common responsibility. Turkey’s experience due to hosting a vast number of refugees, the lessons it had learned and good practices have become a source of light for the development of this global agreement related to refugees. All of those will be evaluated in order to provide the protection rights that the refugees deserve; hence it will provide substantial support to the work conducted by the IPU.”

After the speeches, Şentop, Speaker of the GNAT and the accompanying people visited the exhibition where winners of the photography contest organized by the Ministry of Interior Directorate General of Migration Management with the theme of immigration and immigrants are exhibited.