Overview of UNHCR’s operations in Europe

Berk BARAN 04.03.2015

Mr. Chair,

Last week, High Commissioner Guterres announced Turkey as the world's largest refugee hosting country.

This is not a title neither we nor the people seeking shelter in Turkey chose. It is only a natural consequence of the ongoing humanitarian crises in our two neighbors.

But it reminds us our noble responsibility to serve the needs of these people and put them at the center of our efforts in responding to those needs.

Seizing this opportunity, I would like to remind our appeals to the international community to share this responsibility.

In Turkey, the Foreigners and International Protection Law entered into force on 11 April 2014. With this comprehensive new Law, Turkey has taken a major step in transforming its migration and asylum infrastructure in line with international standards. Prepared with participation of all relevant national and international stakeholders in a transparent and inclusive manner, this Law aims to establish a viable migration and asylum system in full consideration of respect for human rights and compliance with international refugee law.

Within the new Law, the regulation on temporary protection also came into force on 22 October 2014. This regulation provides the legal status to Syrians, as well as other foreigners under temporary protection in Turkey. Under this regulation, in short, the foreigners bearing this status will be provided with the opportunities to public health, education, employment, social assistance and interpretation services.

In the preparation of this legislation package, we received valuable support and guidance from the UNHCR. In the end, this cooperation ended up with a very exemplary and civilized legislation, of which, we are very proud.

Mr. Chair,

Here, I would like to commend the efforts of the UNHCR to end statelessness.

Turkey has been one of the main sponsors, together with Mexico, of the Human Rights Council Resolutions on birth registration. The draft text of this year’s resolution aims to acknowledge the streamlined dialogue between the UNHCR and the OHCHR.

Turkey also ratified and became a party to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons. The procedure for ratifying the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness is underway.

Mr. Chair,

Please allow me to take this opportunity to remind the exhibition, which is co-organized by Turkey and the UNHCR. The exhibition "Safe Harbor Turkey: Restoring Hope" was opened on Monday by High Commissioner Guterres and our Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. We would like to extend our gratitude to Mr. High Commissioner and his Office for accepting to co-organize this exhibition and their close support in the preparatory process.

In the exhibition, which will stay open until 11 March, Wednesday next week in Mezzanine, only one floor above, you will be able to see the examples of Turkish hospitality throughout history, to people fleeing violence and oppression in their homes.

Thank you.


Sadık Arslan Ambassador

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