REMARKS BY SELÇUK ÜNAL, AMBASSADOR OF THE REPUBLIC OF TURKEY ON THE OCCASION OF THE HARMONY IFTAR

Selçuk Ünal 31.05.2018

Distinguished Members of Parliament, Dear Friends,

Thank you for your invitation to tonight’s Harmony Iftar. I wish you all a prosperous Ramadan.

Ramadan has been a safe haven for souls. Turkey has traditionally been a land that offered safe haven to many people from different religions, races and languages throughout history. Turkish people opened their homes and hearts to those who were forced to leave their homelands due to violence. This policy still continues.

The attitude of the Turkish society to migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers has always been based on tolerance, sympathy, hospitality and solidarity. Crimean Tatars, Poles, Hungarians, Jews, Russians, Estonians, Turks of Bulgaria, Afghans, Bosnians, Kosovars, Macedonians and lately Syrians and Iraqis took refuge in our territories.

They belonged to many different ethnic and religious backgrounds; yet one thing they all shared was the trust they had for Turkey. Like Canada, Turkey thus became home to many peoples from different cultures living in harmony.

As of this Ramadan, Turkey is hosting more than 3.5 million refugees from Syria and Iraq from all walks of life irrespective of their belief, language and race. Turkey has spent more than 30 billion USD for those people since 2011. Unfortunately, international support to them through Turkey is less than 1 billion USD.

During Ramadans, we have to remember not only those persons in need, but also their children. Children of those Syrians at school age in Turkey are more than 835.000. However, the total number of the Syrian children continuing to school is only half of this figure. To educate the future generations we need more international assistance to extend to the Syrians.

So far more than 40.000 Syrians have arrived to Canada and almost 5.000 of them came from Turkey. Our humanitarian assistance as well as our cooperation with Canada will continue. While continuing its humanitarian assistance to all, we will continue to fight DAESH and other terror organisations to help our Syrians and Iraqi friends.

Finally, and needless to say, Turkey will continue its extensive humanitarian assistance to Somalia and Bangladesh to help our friends over there in particular to the Rohingya people in and from Myanmar.

Thank you.

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