Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Defence

Turkish Foreign Policy and Turkey-Ireland Relations: Engagement with Ambassador of Turkey

Photo of Charles FlanaganCharles Flanagan (Laois-Offaly, Fine Gael)
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The ambassador mentioned in his opening statement the situation in Syria, Turkey's neighbour. He will be aware of the dire humanitarian situation in evidence in Syria and the fact that in the north east, for example, the water level in the Euphrates river has become critically low. Currently, more than 13 million Syrians are reliant on humanitarian aid to survive. I note, as the ambassador stated, that Turkey is currently hosting more than 3.5 million Syrians, who have been in Turkey for some time. The ambassador might be in a position to expand on how he and the Turkish Government see a resolution of the conflict in Syria, having regard to the fact that, as he stated, it is over ten years since the horrific conflict commenced. There does not appear to be an immediate sense of a resolution. Having regard to the authority and influence of Turkey in the neighbourhood, what does the ambassador see as being the priority situation?

As for the issue of refugees specifically, given the large number of Syrians in Turkey, given the strain and pressure that this places on the country's resources and given the dangerous situation for many returnees from many refugee camps to Syria, what does the ambassador see as the priority?