By Bayram Altug
GENEVA (AA) - Turkey, a country hosting the most refugees in the world, called on the international community on Tuesday to share its burden.
“Turkey is in the vanguard of the global effort to elevate the suffering of the refugees. We strongly advocate equal burden sharing in the face of this enormous task,” said Yavuz Selim Kiran, Turkey's deputy foreign minister, at the 70th session of UN Refugee Agency’s Executive Committee.
“Refugees and refugee hosting countries should not be left alone,” Kiran added.
Kiran voiced concerns about statelessness around the world.
“Ending statelessness is an ambitious but also a virtuous goal,” said Kiran.
“It is estimated that today there are approximately 12 million stateless people in the world. What is more devastating for us is that one out of three stateless people are children,” Kiran said.
He also reiterated support for UNHCR’s #IBelong campaign and said: “Thanks to the progress achieved in the first five years of this campaign almost 170,000 stateless people gained nationality.”
Kiran said that Turkey did its part to tackle statelessness and became a party to the 1954 convention in 2015.
He added that stateless people have access to education, healthcare, labor and all basic needs in Turkey under the law.
“According to Turkish citizenship law, a person born in Turkey, who cannot acquire nationality of his or her mother and father by birth is granted Turkish nationality,” Kiran went on to say.
He said that Turkey sees “the upcoming global refugee forum as the perfect opportunity to increase contributions of the international community, as well as to discuss how we can further help refugees".
Kiran said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be one of the co-chairs of the forum.
“We expect all the relevant stakeholders to declare substantial, durable and sustainable pledges during the forum,” he added.
The first Global Refugee Forum, which will be held on Dec. 17-18 in Geneva, will focus on areas, including arrangements for burden and responsibility-sharing, education, jobs and livelihoods, energy and infrastructure, solutions, and protection capacity.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi thanked Turkey for being the largest refugee hosting country in the world for five years in a row.
“I was recently just a few weeks ago in Turkey, could once again see the very, not very well known but very important work that is done, for example, on the education of refugees and insertion in the labor market,” said Grandi.
“We will continue to work together and support hoping that peace will prevail in all countries where those refugees come from,” he added.
Turkey currently hosts some 3.6 million Syrian refugees.
*Writing and contribution by Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak