Tineke Strik (Netherlands, SOC), ending a fact-finding visit to Ankara, Istanbul and Kirklareli, has praised Turkey’s great efforts to manage the 3.6 million migrants in the country.
Her visit was organised in the framework of a report on “The human rights impact of the ‘external dimension’ of European Union asylum and migration policy: out of sight, out of rights?”.
During the visit, Ms Strik met with the Migration Management Department, the Disaster Relief Agency, the Ministries of Foreign and EU Affairs and Members of Parliament, as well as representatives of the UNHCR, the IOM, Amnesty International, other NGOs and lawyers.
“Turkey's commitment to hosting and integrating such large numbers of refugees is really Impressive, It takes a lot of capacity-building to provide a sufficient level of education, health services and living conditions," she said.
"But this work cannot be supported by Turkey alone: the European Union should increase the flexibility of its programme implementation, while stepping up resettlement among member states and delivering on its promises of humanitarian admission of refugees.”
At the same time, the rapporteur expressed concern at what appear to be practical and administrative obstacles to refugees’ and asylum-seekers’ access to their rights both at the border and on the Turkish territory.
“The growing focus on security, in particular in the context of the state of emergency, adds to the challenges faced. Difficulties in entering the labour market also expose refugees and asylum-seekers to the risk of poverty and exclusion, which will only increase if the predicted economic downturn is confirmed,” she said.
The report will be debated on 27 June during the summer part-session of the Parliamentary Assembly.