Turkey rejects Amnesty International’s claims on Syrians in Turkey

Foreign Ministry calls Amnesty's claims that Syrians are forcibly sent back home 'unreal, fictional'

Turkey on Friday rejected the allegations by the Amnesty International that Syrians in Turkey were forcibly repatriated, threatened, and mistreated, calling the claims “unreal and fictional”. 

“We reject the allegations in the report published today, October 25, by Amnesty International regarding Syrians under temporary protection in Turkey,” said Hami Aksoy, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry.

Aksoy emphasized that Turkey hosts nearly 4 million displaced people, including more than 3.6 million Syrians, at a period when many countries were building walls at their borders and hiding behind barbed wire.

“While hosting these people in the best manner, we fully respect the principle of non-refoulement in line with our international obligations,” Aksoy said, adding that there was no change in Turkey’s approach.

“In this respect, claims in the report that Syrians are forcibly sent back, threatened and subjected to mistreatment are unreal and fictional.”

Aksoy pointed out that Turkish authorities were carrying out the process of safe and voluntary return of Syrians to their country in cooperation with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and non-governmental organizations.

Aksoy noted that around 365,000 Syrians voluntarily returned to areas cleared of terrorism by Turkey in Syria.

“Turkey reiterates at every occasion that the return of refugees should take place voluntarily and safely and that this process should be conducted in line with international law,” he said.

“We believe that if necessary humanitarian and physical infrastructure and security conditions are met in Syria, Syrians can return to their country,” he added.

On Oct. 9, Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

“We consider that the international community has an important responsibility in facilitating the process of safe and voluntary return of Syrians,” Aksoy said, stressing that Turkey would continue to take the necessary steps to improve the living conditions of Syrians.

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