Turkey Asked To Do More To Stop Flow Of Migrants To Europe

Mar 8, 2016
Originally published on March 8, 2016 7:07 am
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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Leaders of Turkey and the European Union talked about migrants yesterday - those who've traveled through Turkey to Greece aiming for Europe just like the women we've just met. Turkey already is the home of 2.5 million Syrian refugees spread around that country. The EU is discussing a deal with Turkey under which Europe would take more refugees but also send many back to Turkey. The International Medical Corps is one of many organizations helping refugees there. Via Skype, we reached Ramadan Assi, the group's director of global strategy.

RAMADAN ASSI: Unless we see a very serious commitment from the international community, all that we will be doing here in the region is just providing bandages for a very big open wound.

MONTAGNE: A very big open wound. Assi says it will be hard to keep people in Turkey who want to get to the EU no matter what world powers want.

ASSI: It doesn't matter how many barriers, how many coastal guards you put on the sea. Many will still want to look for that better future in Europe.

MONTAGNE: And yet, he says, it's vital to try. He's hoping world powers will send help to Turkey. He wants refugees to be made welcome enough for more of them to stay there close to Syria so they can return someday.

ASSI: We are actually morally responsible to avoid having another Somalia where every single competent, educated worker or teacher is leaving the country for another place - those who they desperately would need to rebuild their country.

MONTAGNE: Millions of people have left or are leaving. Of Syria's prewar population of 22 million, roughly half have fled their homes seeking refuge inside or outside their country. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.