UN, EU officials hail Turkey's efforts in Syrian crisis

EU, UN Refugee Agency launch project to improve Turkey's asylum seeking system

Turkey has been able to develop a robust legal framework to deal with the Syrian crisis, a UN Refugee Agency official said Thursday.

Paolo A. Artini, the agency’s Ankara-based deputy representative, made the remarks at the launch of the "Reinforcement of Turkey’s National Asylum System" project in the capital.

Co-financed by the EU and Turkey, the project is implemented by the UN Refugee Agency. It will benefit Turkey’s Ministry of Interior Directorate of Migration Management.

Artini appreciated Turkey’s Law on Foreigners and International Protection, which safeguards the rights of all refugees and asylum seekers.

He said that the project will strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of Interior Directorate of Migration Management.

The overall goal of the project is to establish stronger quality assurance mechanisms for the national asylum procedure.

Artini added that the project also aims to allow refugees to live in dignity, and develop policies for their integration into the Turkish society.

Also speaking at the program, Gabriel Munuera-Vinals, deputy head of the EU delegation to Turkey, said: "The partnership [between Turkey and the EU] is based on trust and respect for professionalism."

"We [EU], together with Turkey have already made enormous progress, achieving more in the past three years than what has been possible in the 20 years before," he added.

"What Turkey is doing with the Syrian refugees is absolutely extraordinary and fantastic. It is an honor for the EU to continue working very closely with Turkey, its authorities and its civil society groups -- catering to the needs of Syrian refugees," he said.

Eda Sencolaklar, a senior representative of the Ministry of Interior Directorate of Migration Management, said the project aims to develop long-term policies for the integration of asylum seekers.

"Turkey upholds important qualifications to become a target country in the region not only due to its geopolitical location and social-cultural structure but also due to the recently developing situation," Sencolaklar added.

Turkey hosts more Syrian refugees than any other country in the world. The country has spent more than €20 billion from its own national resources for helping and sheltering refugees since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.