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Turkey Calls on World Leaders to Share Burden of Migrant Crisis

  • VOA News

FILE - Migrants stand behind a fence at the Nizip refugee camp in Gaziantep province, southeastern Turkey, April 23, 2016.

FILE - Migrants stand behind a fence at the Nizip refugee camp in Gaziantep province, southeastern Turkey, April 23, 2016.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has issued a call for better international cooperation in sharing the burden of addressing the world's largest humanitarian crises.

Erdogan spoke Monday in Istanbul at a two-day United Nations-backed summit that convened against the backdrop of a massive migration into Turkey of Syrian and Iraqi civilians fleeing years of war.

Analysts say the presence of 3 million migrants on Turkish soil makes the country the world's largest host of displaced people — part of what the U.N. calls the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.

Despite skeptics who question whether the summit can produce results, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on delegates and heads of state from more than 60 nations to "resolve ourselves here and now not only to keep people alive, but to give people a chance at life in dignity."

The global medical relief organization Doctors Without Borders withdrew from the event weeks ago, calling it "a fig leaf of good intentions" overshadowed by what it calls "shocking violations [by Turkey] of international humanitarian law and refugee rights."

Amnesty International on Monday cited what it described as the "complete collapse of humanitarian law" in Turkey, and accused the European Union of "looking the other way when it comes to rights violations in Turkey itself."

Earlier this month, U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein called on Turkey to implement an array of human rights reforms, and to allow independent investigators to probe "a succession of alarming reports" of alleged rights abuses near the Syrian and Iraqi borders.

For his part, Turkey's Erdogan has argued that the dual threats facing his country from Kurdish militants in the region, coupled with increasing incidents of Islamic State terrorism, call for strengthening anti-terror laws rather than curtailing them.

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