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Syrians request a voluntary and dignified return

Since 2011 Turkey has welcomed more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees. Syrians have been subject to Law on Foreigners and International Protection Regulation since 2014. 

Recently, some political circles have started using Syrians’ presence as propaganda material for the upcoming elections. Misinformation and fake news about Syrian refugees in Turkey have begun to spread, and this has led to an increase in tension and backlash among the Turkish people, towards foreigners in general, and Syrians in particular.

Being a neighbor and a friend of the Syrians, the Turkish State strives to improve the living conditions in northern Syria. After contributing to the voluntary return of 500,000 refugees, now it announced that it has launched a project aiming at the voluntary return of half a million Syrian refugees.

As Syrian non-governmental organizations, we would like to underline the following issues based on our relationship with the current situation in Syria -by virtue of our natural bond with the concerns and issues of Syrians and our sensitivity to Turkey’s security and welfare:  

  • The common history, culture, cooperation, and neighborhood values ​​between the Syrian and Turkish people should be adhered to.
  • Emphasizing our stance which has been to refrain from interfering with Turkey’s internal affairs, we call for keeping the presence of Syrians in Turkey away from the processes of politicization and tension, not being used as political propaganda for election, and addressing the issue compatible with human rights and the culture of the broadminded Turkish people.
  • The moral responsibility of more than one million martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the ideal of building a free, just, and dignified homeland form the basis of facing the most difficult conditions Syrians have been enduring through this process. In this context and line with the vision of the international community within the scope of UN Resolution 2254, we would like to emphasize that the Syrian people will remain committed to exercising their right to return to Syria when humanitarian, security and political conditions are met.
  • We, as non-governmental organizations, support all efforts for the permanent return of refugees to Syria, if a political solution is reached pursuant to a mutual agreement of the countries involved in the Syrian process that will ensure a sustainable and safe living environment in Syria in terms of psychological, economic, justice and security guaranteeing the lives and property of the returnees.
  • The Syrians should be able to return to their own villages and cities where they had to leave because of the threat of conflict, bombing, and massacres. 
  • As Syrian non-governmental organizations, we declare that we are ready to work with all parties that contribute to the re-development of Syrian society and to present the real demands and expectations of Syrians within this framework to ensure that Syria is safe and stable country for its people and neighbors. 

The undersigned Non-Governmental Organizations are aware that once dignified living conditions, a safe environment, and political conditions are provided, Syrians will begin to voluntarily return to their country because of their loyalty to their homeland. Indeed, sending refugees back to Syria or its northern regions without reaching a permanent solution to the problem that caused the refugee crisis will not solve the problem and will make the solution more difficult and complex. 

We would therefore like to recall that it is not a choice for refugees to leave their places of residence; the reason for this asylum is the use of all kinds of weapons and barrel bombs prohibited by international law. And we call on the international community to assume their political, humanitarian, and moral responsibilities and to actively participate in efforts that seek to solve the problem that caused the refugees to leave their homes, cities, and villages in the first place. 

May 28, 2022.

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