“Our [Turkey’s] vision of humanitarian aid is not about aid packages or vulnerable people waiting in line,” said Erdoğan, adding the country’s aid covers not only meeting basic needs but also prevention of crises and reducing dependency through development support.
Turning to Syrian refugees living in Turkey, who number more than three million and more than half of whom are women and children, Erdoğan said Ankara does not provide shelter alone.
“We place special importance on teaching women a profession to help their survival. We provide courses in many areas ranging from hairdressing to computer skills.
“We rehabilitate women who have suffered in the war through development programs and hobby courses and help them discover their potential,” she added.
As for children, she said, Turkey works to ensure that they are provided with education and young Syrian people are able to pursue their university studies.
She recalled that Turkey is also providing development aid to Africa.
“In other words, we are, to use a popular phrase, teaching them how to fish instead of providing the fish. We provide training and equipment to Africa that will help them discover their own potential,” she added.
Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.