Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the international community has begun providing better support for the return of refugees to their countries of origin, particularly Syria, and called for more international cooperation on migration.

FILE PHOTO: Migrants walk toward Turkey's Pazarkule border crossing with Greece's Kastanies, in Edirne, Turkey, on March 1, 2020.
FILE PHOTO: Migrants walk toward Turkey’s Pazarkule border crossing with Greece’s Kastanies, in Edirne, Turkey, on March 1, 2020. (Reuters Archive)

The international community is showing “better support” for the safe return of refugees to their countries of origin, Turkey’s foreign minister said.

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“We have now started to receive better support from the international community for the safe return of refugees to their countries. They (have) understood how serious this issue is,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told journalists in the Turkish resort city of Antalya on Sunday.

“We are working with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to repatriate refugees to their countries, especially Syria.”

He said the initiative has been started by Syria’s neighbouring countries that are hosting the majority of Syrian refugees, including Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq.

Cavusoglu emphasised the need to pursue projects that create employment and provide returnees with access to quality education and health care, as done in Syria’s northwestern Idlib region.

A joint Turkey – EU approach for the growing Afghan refugee wave

“Must work together”

Europe has been against the reconstruction of Syria, the Turkish foreign minister added.

“It’s true, rebuilding a country or a place while the war continues is unrealistic. We all have a clear stance on the (Assad) regime, but meeting basic needs on the ground is not rebuilding a country,” he said.

“The same is true for Afghanistan, but due to the current situation there, it is neither right nor possible to send people (back) immediately.”

He said the Covid-19 pandemic and the consequent economic difficulties have forced more people to leave their countries.

“If this (migration) is a global problem, we must work together as the international community to solve it,” Cavusoglu stressed.