Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on March 17 the government is “experiencing a problematic process”, and an uncomfortable environment trying to fulfill a visa deal with the EU. “If the EU does not implement visa liberalization, we have three interconnected agreements. The re-admission and immigration agreement. At that time, the other two agreements are, of course, not applied naturally”,Cavuşoglu said at a meeting of business leaders in Anlaya district. Ankara is supposed to readmit all irregular asylum seekers who reach Greek islands from Turkey, according to the read mission agreement signed last March with the EU.
The northern Syrian city of Manbij is under the protection of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by the PKK’s Syrian affiliate YPG, a YPG-linked militia group announced on Sunday, dismissing Russian claims that the city will be handed over to Assad regime. The statement came after Russian General Staff had claimed last Friday that an agreement was reached between the Assad regime and the YPG for the peaceful transfer of Manbij’s control to the Assad regime forces. “We in the Manbij Military Council confirm again that Manbij and its rural areas are under the protection of the Manbij Military Council and under the care of the international coalition and its protection”, the self-declared ”Manbij military council” of the terrorist-dominated SDF said. Turkey, which launched Operation Euphrates Shield on August 24 to back the Free Syrian Army (FSA) against terrorist groups [including the PYD/YPG and Daesh] alongside its Syrian border, successfully cleared Manbij from Daesh terrorists and declared last week that the next target would be to liberate YPG-controlled Manbij. Turkish Foreign Minister MevlütÇavuşoğlu said on March 2 that Turkey will strike the YPG if the latter does not withdraw from Manbij, which was promised to Turkey several times by the U.S. over the past months. Turkish authorities had welcomed the Russian statement that the Assad regime would take the control of Manbij, with Prime Minister BinaliYıldırım saying that Ankara was content over the regime replacing the PYD in Manbij.
Turkey has so far offered free education to 483,000 Syrian schoolchildren, the country’s education minister said yesterday. İsmet Yılmaz said over half of the 850,000 Syrian refugee schoolchildren in the country were being educated in Turkey’s public schools alongside local children. “We want to provide national education not only to our own children but also to those who have taken refuge in our country and those who are not able to live in their own country. If a person is uneducated, he or she will be open to additional risks wherever they are” Yılmaz said. He said the authorities carried out intensive studies into the education of Syrian refugee students after Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım’s order last June to immediately complete an offer for free schooling. Yılmaz said the curriculum had been scheduled with Arabic and Turkish teachers together because Turkey believes Syrian refugees will be able to back to their homeland after the war is over. Refugee students have missed years of education due to the closure of schools in their home countries and prolonged traveling. The European Union has contributed to Turkey for their education and pledged to send 300 million euros.
The generosity of Turkey regarding taking care of Syrian refugees should be matched by other countries, UN Chief Antonio Guterres said in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım on Friday. Guterres had high praise for Turkey’s efforts to deal with the millions of refugees pouring into its country. He stressed that Turkey is effectively handling the situation single-handedly at a time when other countries are closing their borders and walking away from responsibility. “This generosity should be matched,” he said of Turkey. “This is also a moment to launch an appeal – when we see so many borders being closed and when we see so many escaping their responsibilities-this is a moment to appeal for effective burden-sharing and to make sure that the integrity of the international refugee protection regime is maintained.” On Cyprus, he said the UN is in service to the two communities and the guarantor states stand ready to support a solution accepted by everyone. Prime Minister Yıldırım once gain urged the world to do its fair share to help solve problems in the region. Yıldırım said Turkey is hosting three million refugees without much support from other countries and the entire world is aware. “We want everybody to accept their responsibilities and not to be stingy on sharing burdens to end the problems in this region,” he said. Referring to Cyprus talks, Yıldırım said any new administration there should be just and the two communities, Turkish and Greek, must be equally represented.