More migrants to return to a more stable Syria - Erdogan

As the recent dialogue between Türkiye, Russia and Syria yields results, the number of Syrian refugees returning to their homeland will increase, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Jan. 11, reports citing Hurriyet Daily News.

“As the security environment in northern Syria improves, the return of Syrians to their homes is accelerating,” Erdogan said at the International Ombudsman Conference.

Reminding that Türkiye had started to build briquette houses in northern Syria for returnees, Erdogan said they wanted these people to live humanely in their country.

“We wanted to save these people from the tents in snow and winter. We wanted to prepare a humane way of life for them by placing briquettes in houses,” he stated.

So far, approximately 550,000 refugees have returned to the regions that Türkiye has cleared of terrorism and made safe, Erdogan emphasized.

“These numbers will increase as the diplomatic contacts we, as Türkiye, Russia and Syria, have been carrying out for a while bear fruit. We will continue to fulfill our duty of brotherhood, neighborliness and humanity,” he said.

Citing the education ban imposed on females in Afghanistan by the Taliban rule, Erdogan said, “We find the recent understanding of preventing head-scarved girls from being educated in universities and schools in Afghanistan inhumane and un-Islamic.”

“Girls [in Afghanistan] should receive an education. Nobody should define or tell us anything that prevents them from Islam. Islam does not accept such a thing,” he said.

The president also expressed criticism of international actors’ for not taking any steps against “those who persecute refugees.”

“We continue to defend human rights not by word, but by taking responsibility and we will continue to do so. We continue to work with other fields with the same principled attitude,” he said.

“We contribute to the solution of the food and energy crisis that affects the lives of billions of people by implementing the grain corridor and the prisoner exchange agreement through the Black Sea,” Erdogan added.

Underscoring that human rights were one of the leading items on the global agenda, Erdogan noted: “Almost everyone, from local politicians to media, from academics to international organizations, talks about human rights and freedoms. Meetings are held, decisions are taken, and statements are made on the preservation and defense of human rights all across the world. That being the case, the fundamental rights of people, including the right to life, are continuously violated.”

He emphasized that new violations were being added to the current ones that already ignored human rights, freedoms and dignity in many parts of the world, from Syria to Palestine, Yemen to Arakan, and Turkistan to Africa.

Erdogan continued, “Crises that should bring us together and evoke our feeling of mercy can, on the contrary, sometimes draw people away from humanitarian values. The COVID-19 pandemic, immigrants, and conflicts that erupt in our region are the most striking examples of this bitter truth. We remember with embarrassment the selfish acts displayed by countries, considered to be developed, to protect themselves during the pandemic.”

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