Speaking in an interview with Anadolu Agency, Karl Kulessa said that the sudden influx of people had made Turkey the biggest host of refugees in the world.

Kulessa said Turkey was working with international organizations to cope with the huge social-services caseload, involving people that do not speak Turkish and thus need a “different kind of care”.

The UNPF has been working with Turkey’s health and social policies ministries to offer services to women and girls – including psychosocial support and referrals on other issues, especially reproductive health, said Kulessa.

Kulessa said UNICEF and the European Union would help Syrian children go to school.

Noting that out of about 800,000 Syrian children only 330,000 are actually in education, Kulessa said that UNICEF “will invest, I think, some $100 million to help Syrian youngsters find their way to school”.

“The government here wants to build schools,” he added. “We realize that especially in eastern parts of Turkey and southeast Anatolia there is a need for more infrastructure.

“I think the EU will come in with a lot of money to help the government to provide this kind of infrastructure.”

Asked about other countries’ perception of what is going on in Turkey, Kulessa said he thinks “they don’t always necessarily understand the challenges and the good quality of the service that Turkey has managed to provide to Syrian refugees.”

Kulessa said he has travelled to southeastern Anatolia and that Syrian refugees are “grateful to Turkey. They are trying to learn Turkish, trying to get their education certificates recognized and their professional experience recognized."

He underlined that refugees – among who are many professors, engineers and other well-educated people – want to work.

“Their problem is that they do not have much network to find jobs,” he said. “My personal view is that what Turkey has done is almost a miracle in managing the crisis with refugees but I think the real challenge will begin when we come to integration."

Turkey will face economic, social and cultural challenges in integrating such a high number of refugees, Kulessa said, but he is hopeful it will succeed.

Anadolu Agency