Turkey showed compassion in welcoming refugees: FAO

'Number of refugees Turkey has welcomed is bigger than the population of Paris' FAO representative says

Turkey is welcoming, compassionate and eager to involve newly arrived refugees in their businesses and communities, all over the country, Viorel Gutu, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) representative in Turkey, said on Monday.

The Turkish government and people have shown generosity and compassion in welcoming 3.5 million refugees, he stated in a women's day event in the capital Ankara.

He stressed: "People in other countries don’t seem to realize that the number of refugees Turkey has welcomed is bigger than the population of Paris, and it’s more than the population of Berlin."

"It is as though the entire population of my country, Moldova, were to leave and settle in elsewhere," he added.

"Syrians now need to look at Turkey as more than just a country of refuge, they need to build lives here, at least for the next couple of years," he said.

Turkey's government is keen on finding something that would not restrict refugees to living in Turkey forever, but still provide them the means to make a life here for the time being, he said.

"That’s why FAO developed its Refugee Resilience Plan around training in agriculture and food processing, working with local experts and training organizations to teach skills to those who were keen to learn, whether Syrian or Turkish."

Hundreds of women have benefited from the new skills they have acquired, he highlighted.

He added: "350 Syrian women and 150 Turkish women have been participating in courses ranging from olive and pistachio production to livestock and dairy farming, to mushroom cultivation."

Turkey's Food, Agriculture and Livestock Ministry trained women to acquire the skills that are needed by employers in the region, he underlined.

He added that many of these women were now working in agriculture in Turkey.

"More importantly, they are earning an income, putting their children through school and are no longer reliant on aid from the government or humanitarian agencies."

"The gender equality must come at the forefront of humanity's indispensable rules," said Turkish Food, Agriculture and Livestock Minister Ahmet Esref Fakibaba.

He stated that Turkey was trying to create opportunities for women in every field and women were much more successful especially in agriculture, livestock and food production fields.

"Cities, the country and the region will get much more developed if opportunities for women increase," he added.