Qa-66, 25 October 2019, Statement Of The Spokesperson Of The Ministry Of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Hami Aksoy, In Response To A Question Regarding The Report By Amnesty International

Republic Of Turkey Ministry Of Foreign Affairs 25.10.2019

We reject the allegations in the report published today (25 October) by Amnesty International regarding Syrians under temporary protection in Turkey.

Turkey is hosting around 4 million displaced people, over 3,6 million of them being Syrians, who seek refuge in its territories. Turkey, at a period when many countries are building walls at their borders and hiding behind barbed wire, opened its doors to those in need.

While hosting these people in the best manner, we fully respect the principle of “non-refoulement” in line with our international obligations. There is no change in our approach. In this respect, claims in the report that Syrians are forcibly sent back, threatened and subjected to mistreatment are unreal and fictional.

Our relevant authorities are carrying out the process of safe and voluntary returns of Syrians to their country in cooperation with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and non-governmental organizations. As a matter of fact, around 365.000 Syrians voluntarily returned to the areas cleared of terrorism by Turkey in Syria.

Turkey reiterates at every occasion that returns of refugees should take place voluntarily and safely and that this process should be conducted in line with international law.

We believe that if necessary humanitarian and physical infrastructure and security conditions are met in Syria, Syrians can return to their country. In fact, one of the objectives of Operation Peace Spring is to establish a safe zone, which will facilitate safe and voluntary returns of hundreds of thousands of Syrians who fled cruelty and oppression of the PKK/PYD/YPG terrorist organization. We consider that the international community has an important responsibility in facilitating the process of safe and voluntary return of Syrians.

Turkey will continue to take the necessary steps to improve the living conditions of Syrians.

Mehmet Vakur Erkul Ambassador
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