-The Syrian conflict and its repercussions are set to dominate an annual gathering of Turkey's ambassadors that will be organized around the theme of “Crisis Management: Humanitarian Solutions.”
The conference, which will begin Jan. 11 under the chairmanship of Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, also aims to set the stage for the upcoming U.N. World Humanitarian Summit that will be hosted by Turkey in May.
“On the occasion of the eighth Ambassadors' Conference, a comprehensive assessment of Turkish foreign policy will be carried out while raising awareness both domestically and internationally prior to the World Humanitarian Summit for such pressing humanitarian issues as migration and refugees, development and foreign aid, thereby highlighting the efforts that have rendered Turkey a primary and remarkable actor in the field of humanitarian diplomacy in recent years,” the Foreign Ministry said in a recently delivered statement.
During the conference, which will run for five days, humanitarian and other issues that have a bearing on Turkey's foreign policy will be discussed in ministerial sessions that will be attended by members of the cabinet.
In line with this year's theme, foreign ministers from several countries as well as participating academics and experts with global prominence in the field of development and global affairs are expected to address the ambassadors and discuss in depth humanitarian issues in panel sessions.
The foreign ministers of Norway, Chile, Kenya and the United Kingdom, the first vice president of the EU Commission, the U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator are among the participating foreign dignitaries.
On the last day of the conference, Çavuşoğlu and the ambassadors will pay a visit to the southeastern province of Gaziantep where the impact of the humanitarian crisis is being felt most intensely.
Ankara has spent more than $8.5 billion on feeding and housing Syrian refugees since the start of the war in 2011, while the migration crisis has opened up deep divisions between European states, with the EU having set itself a goal of sharply reducing the influx this year.
Turkey has said it is doing what it can to contain the movement and curb criminal smuggling gangs while accommodating more than 2 million Syrian refugees.
EU governments pledged 3 billion euros to help Turkey improve conditions for Syrians and dissuade them from heading for Europe while reviving talks with Ankara on its negotiations to join the bloc. The EU has also pledged easier travel visas for Turks if migrant numbers drop.