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Turkey rules out refugee status for Syrian nationals

30 May 2014 9:27


Senior authorities in Ankara have ruled out refugee status for Syrian nationals who are seeking shelter in Turkey.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Thursday that his country has limited the right only to asylum seekers from Europe.

Non-European refugees are now granted a temporary stay in Turkey, pending their resettlement to a third country.

Thus, it is not possible for Syrians who have taken shelter in Turkey to obtain refugee status, the foreign minister noted.

Davutoglu said Ankara has accepted the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees with “geographical limitations.”

“Our Interior Ministry is conducting studies to form a new, professional border enforcement organization, on one hand, to increase cooperation and coordination among institutions in charge of border control and surveillance, and on the other, to be responsible for the protection of our borders and passengers’ entry and exit,” media outlets quoted Davutoglu as saying.

His remarks come as violence has forced millions of Syrian people to flee to neighboring countries, including Turkey.

More than three years of conflict in Syria has sent millions of people fleeing to neighboring countries and beyond.

In late April, Ankara put the number of Syrian refugees in the country at almost one million. Turkey is viewed as one of the regional supporters of foreign-backed militants operating inside Syria.

According to some sources, over 160,000 people have been killed and millions displaced due to the violence in Syria.

The Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.

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