Some 25,000 people, mostly women and children, have died in the Mediterranean Sea over the last eight years, the Turkish president said on June 20.
“In the past eight years, 25,000 people, most of them women and children, died in the treacherous waters of Mediterranean,” Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told the closing ceremony of the International Migration Film Festival via videoconference.
He said those people set out with a hope for safe future, however, most of the journeys ended up with death.
“Fate of some 10,000 Syrian children who sought asylum in Europe is unknown,” Erdoğan added.
Erdoğan said the migration issue is on the agenda of the world as a global phenomenon, especially recently, and millions of people have to leave their homes due to war, instability, terror and poverty.
He added that people migrate not only for better jobs or better living standards but mostly for being able to stay alive and feed themselves.
“Today there are nearly 260 million migrants in the world, as well as over 71 million displaced and over 25 million refugees,” he stressed.
He wished the festival will contribute to rethink about the migration and its reasons, and to raise awareness for the social, cultural, political and economic dimensions of migration.
Touching the high number of refugees in Turkey, Erdoğan said the country embraced everyone without discrimination, while the countries with better opportunities put quotas for them.
Turkey devised comprehensive policies for migrants from sheltering to health, education to social integration in order to facilitate their lives, Erdoğan said, adding that those were all done with the country’s own resources as the EU and other countries did not provide support.
He called on people to drop their prejudices about migration and become aware of the contributions the migrants bring to the countries and societies.
Hurriyet Daily News