Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Testimony :: H.E. Mr. Namik Tan
Ambassador of Turkey to the United States of America -


Written Statement: Namik TAN

Ambassador of Turkey to the United States of America

U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe Hearing: “Fleeing to Live: Syrian Refugees in the OSCE Region”



Turkey maintains an "open border" policy for Syrians fleeing from the violence in their country and strictly complies with the principle of non-refoulement at the border. In accordance with the international procedures, Syrians are provided with "temporary protection" in Turkey without any discrimination.


With regard to the registration and de-registration practice, Turkey is in close cooperation with the UNHCR.


The humanitarian operations of the Turkish Government are carried out on three tracks.


First, as of 7 June 2013, 198.125 Syrians benefiting from temporary protection are hosted in 18 shelters located in Turkey’s border cities. Syrians who are accommodated in shelters are provided with food, non-food items, health, education services as well as psychological assistance, vocational training and social activities. 29.534 students are having education in shelter schools.


Second; Turkey assists the Syrians who live in various towns in the region outside the camps. Their number is estimated to be approximately 290 thousand. Their needs continue to grow due to the prolongation of the crisis. Necessary measures are taken to provide them with basic services, such as free health care, on Government's account.


The third track pertains to extending humanitarian relief items to northern parts of Syria at the zero point of the border in conformity with international legitimacy and humanitarian principles. The total value of the aid channelled to Syria through this operation in support of the UN campaign is in the range of 200 million Dollars.


Up to present, Turkey has spent more than 520 million US Dollars only for the establishment and maintenance of the shelters. The total amount spent by the Turkish Government since the beginning of the Syrian crisis well exceeds 750 million US Dollars. If the calculation is made according to the UN accounting standards, this amount exceeds 1,5 billion US Dollars.


In April 2012, Turkey declared that the country was ready to accept international aid, nonetheless the contribution received so far from the international community has remained far insufficient. We once again call on the members of the international community to scale up their efforts for international solidarity and burden sharing.


Taking into consideration the large influx from Syria and the instability of the situation, Turkey is building additional shelters which would enable to host more Syrians. The high standards of our shelters are highly appreciated by the UN authorities. Turkey attaches importance to maintaining a high quality standard in terms of infrastructure as well as services provided to camp residents.


Turkey remains committed to her obligations under international law and is determined to continue providing protection to Syrians fleeing from the instability and violence in their home country.