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G20 Summit: Syrian civil war and refugee crisis high on agenda

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G20 Summit: Syrian civil war and refugee crisis high on agenda


Several issues including the civil war in Syria and its consequences for Turkey, the Middle-East and Europe are set to feature highly at the G20 summit in the Turkish coastal city of Antalya.

The search for a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis has increased since Russia began military operations in the war-ravaged country. Meanwhile, Turkey hopes to submit a plan to establish a safe haven within Syria.

According to Professor of Internationals Relations at Istanbul Kültür University, Mensur Akgun, the global economy won’t be the only issue on the agenda:

“All the participants there one way or another are interested in Syria. For EU members, the US and Russia, the common problem is the situation in Syria. The summit will be held in a location close to Syria as well. I think that, most probably, there will be a side summit on Syria.”

Against the backdrop of terrorist attacks by Islamic State militants in Europe and its recruitment of European Muslims, European leaders are also concerned with the number of refugees arriving from Syria and then passing through Turkey and Greece. More than 700,000 migrants are estimated to have arrived in Europe by sea so far this year, according to the International Organization for Migration. Professor Mensur Akgun doubts the G20 summit will solve the refugee crisis:

“Many promises have been made in the past but so far less than 400 million dollars (370 million euros) has been provided, as far as I know. I don’t think there will be much aid. More importantly, financial support should be sustainable. Let’s say they gave 3 billion euros today, and not tomorrow. What would happen? A lot of the refugees would stay in Turkey for years to come. A wider plan should be developed in education, in healthcare and for their integration into the Turkish social structure.”

Turkey has been preparing for more than a year for the summit. Many groups have been meeting. The C20 for civil society has been focused on the 20 concerns that may not reach the leaders at the G20. Euronews spoke to the Turkish committee’s leader, Professor Çiğdem Nas:

“There have been terrorist attacks in Turkey recently. World leaders will be protected because there are very strict security measures. This limits contact with the leaders. As a civil society institution we will be bringing the leaders messages. We’ll be telling them not to stay away from the people. We can be communicated with in the same way one communicates with an NGO. We know what the people on the streets think and feel because we work with them. So use us to communicate with society.”

The leaders of the world’s largest economies will come together for the summit in Antalya, Turkey on November 15 and 16.

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