In a TRT World interview, Turkey’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the OECD, Mithat Rende talked about the role of Turkey and OECD in dealing with refugees, saying economic burden that the refugees bring should be shared and countries should be willing to integrate them into their societies.
“We should share the burden and we should expect our European friends to assume the burden to take the responsibility and share the burden and to embrace the refugees and not to stop them at the border and not to erect new walls and maltreat them,” Rende said.
The ambassador said he highlighted the $7 billion spent by Turkey for about 2.2 million refugees in his meetings with representatives from other countries.
“People couldn’t believe the fact that we have about 600,000 student refugees that we are trying to take care of,” Rende added.
Turkey became the host of the largest number of refugees from Syria and Iraq who escaped the violence in their home country and took refuge in Turkey as the closest safe place.
As the violence escalated, more and more refugees also have tried to reach Europe as well.
More than half a million refugees crossed the Mediterranean to reach Europe and about 3,000 of them died during their attempt.
President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker on Tuesday presented a Draft Action Plan on refugee management to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during his visit to Brussels.
The plan aims increasing the support to refugees and their host countries as well as enhancing the cooperation between Turkey and Europe.
Ambassador Rende also invited Gulf states to increase their help to refugees.
“I would like to see more commitment on part of the Arab countries and the Gulf states,” Rende said, “The Gulf states should also assume more responsibility and see to it that they have enough allocations or refugees.”
Rende also added that the refugees should be integrated into the societies of the host countries and given a chance to contribute to economic activity.
He said the USA is a great example where immigrants have always been one of the powerful engines of its economic growth.
“Most refugees become entrepreneurs and they are proud of being a part of the American society,” he said.
“If they are given a chance, the refugees from Syria will be a part of the European economic activity and they will boost growth as well.”
Finishing his remarks, the ambassador emphasised Turkey’s historical ties and cultural importance, and their effects on welcoming the refugees.
“We are neighbors and our cultural values suggest that if your neighbour is hungry, you should not sleep on a full stomach, you have to take care of your neighbour,” Rende concluded.