Turkish president says ISIL attacks must not affect refugee policies

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has warned countries against tightening their refugee policies following the terrorist attack in Parisclaimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), during a speech at the G-20 Summit in the Mediterranean resort town of Antalya.

“Establishing a link between acts of terror and refugees is evading humanitarian responsibility,” Erdoğan said on Nov. 16, urging “genuine solidarity” among G-20 states in dealing with both issues at once. 

In his speech, he reiterated his belief that G-20 members have an obligation to focus on political affairs alongside matters of finance and economy, as a healthy global economy is impossible to attain without attaining “sustainable global peace.”

“The G-20 does not have the luxury to ignore matters directly linked to economic stability,” Erdoğan said, focusing particularly on the ongoing war in neighboring Syria, ISIL, and the plight of refugees fleeing violence.

Stating that Turkey currently hosts around 2.5 million refugees, primarily from Syria and Iraq, Erdoğan stressed that the problem can no longer be tackled by a single country.

“The problem of terror and refugees cannot be resolved until a solution is reached in Syria that is acceptable to all parties,” he said, adding Syria’s territorial integrity, safety and democratic governance must be ensured.

Erdoğan also underlined that terrorism has “no religion, nationality or region” and added that linking terror only to a specific religion would be an insult to the followers of that particular belief.

“The right to life is sacred in all religions,” he said.

While stressing that Turkey would continue to fight against ISIL, Erdoğan said it would also combat Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Giving a list of terrorist organizations, Erdoğan again included the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) – Syrian Kurdish groups fighting against ISIL but with links to the PKK.

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