Istanbul: Discrimination towards migrants, especially those from Arab region, in European and Western countries is an obstacle in resolving the current migrant crisis, a top official from the Turkish government said.
"When we carried out a survey two years ago in Germany, 73 per cent of Turkish migrants there had said that discrimination towards them was the biggest issue they face. Now, the Syrian crisis has worsened than the past. The numbers show that this is the largest number of humans in movement after World War II. But the attitude towards migrants by many countries is not a favourable one, " Kudret BÜLBÜL, Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) President, told Times of Oman.
According to the official, who also attends EU parliament representing the Turkey government to discuss migrant issues, change in attitude towards migrants, especially from Arab countries, in European and western countries, is the need of the hour to address the issue.
"Citing economy reasons, many European countries are turning blind eye towards the migrants. It will not resolve the issues. Countries should think on how to make best use of the current situation," the official added.
Quoting Turkish Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın, local media reported that renewed fighting in Syria has been fueling Turkey’s concerns over a new wave of migrants from Aleppo.
"Neither the Syrian regime nor its supporters” have been acting in line with the UN’s priorities for achieving a political transition," the media quoted the official as saying.
Meanwhile, another official from the Turkish government's emergency and disaster management arm, said that Turkey is hosting 2.7 million Syrian migrants, which is the total population of 19 European countries and the major chunk of the funds allocated are spend on welfare of migrants coming into Turkey.
"Since 2011 May, when the Syrian conflict began, migrants have been crossing the border to Turkey. We are doing our best to help them, in terms of providing education, free of charge healthcare and even jobs," Faut Oktay, the president of AFAD, the emergency and disaster management arm of Turkish government said.
A few months ago, Turkey had granted job visas for Syrian migrants in Turkey, which was welcomed by International Labour Organisation (ILO) as a mark of progress.
Recently, to promote migration through proper channel, Turkey government had also struck a deal with EU as majority of migrants who have travelled to Europe in recent months have done so via Turkey risking their life and allowing human smugglers to exploit the situation.
According to the deal, Greece will send back migrants who arrive on its soil but do not apply for asylum, or whose asylum application is not accepted. For every Syrian who is sent back to Turkey, the EU will take in a Syrian who officially registered in a Turkish refugee camp.
The state news agency quoting the latest figures from the Interior Ministry’s Directorate General of Migration Management reported that the highest number of Syrians resides in southern and southeastern towns along the Syrian border, with the striking exception of Istanbul, home to nearly 400,000 migrants.
Some 2.749 million Syrian migrants are under Turkey’s temporary protection regime, the statistics revealed, and a total of 2.48 million migrants live across the country instead of residing in one of the “accommodation centers” in 10 different provinces.
The city hosting the largest number of Syrians is the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, which is currently home to a total of 401,068 Syrians. While two other southeastern provinces, Hatay and Gaziantep, host some 300,000 migrants, the surprising runner-up is Istanbul.
The megacity has attracted the second highest number of Syrians and currently hosts a total of 394,556 migrants, even though it does not have a single migrant camp within its boundaries.
Turkey’s two other major metropolitan centers, the capital Ankara and the Aegean province of İzmir, attract a comparatively lower number of migrants with some 60,000 and 90,000, respectively.