According to the UN, Turkey is home to the largest number of refugees in the world. UN high commissioner for refugees, antonio guterres, pointed out that even though Turkey has hosted the largest number of refugees in the world, it has received little help from outside.
Turkish hospitality towards refugees is not just a current phenomenon. Turkey has historically held its arms open to refugees from a range of countries.Turkish hospitality towards foreigners and refugees has never taken into consideration the cultural or religious background of the immigrants. Turkey's open-armed attitude emanates from purely humanitarian considerations.In order to understand this it is important to go back in history to see how the Turkish nation has dealt with refugee influxes in the past.
Since the 15th century both the Ottoman Empire and later, the Turkish Republic, accepted and hosted millions of refugees without
discriminating on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender or religion. Turkey has a well recorded history of hospitality for immigrants.
After the 1830's Turkey became the main refugee destination for people from a range of countries forced to leave their homelands. Having welcomed more than 10 thousand refugees from poland in 1831 Turkey then embraced more than 1 million refuges from Georgia and tens of thousands of Tatars from Crimea.Up until WWI Turkey hosted 1.5 million immigrants including Circassians, dagestanis and Chechens.
In 1916, around 5000 arabs from Syria, the hijaz and mesopotamia came to Turkey. WWİ marked a period of great influx into Turkey as people around the world sought refuge from the trying events of the time.During this period, 10,000 Azerbaijanis, 334,000 Turks from Greece, more than 305,000 people from Yugoslavia and 123,000 from Romania arrived in Turkey.
Between 1944 and 1952 hundreds of thousands of Bulgarian Turks and persecuted Jews made their way to Turkey where they were hosted and given refuge...
Iranian refugees also experienced the benefits of Turkish hospitality..After the Iranian revolution of 1979,
one million people, mostly azeris, came to Turkey as refugees. The aftermath of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan also marked another wave of newcomers to Turkey as more than 4,000 Afghan refugees entered the country.
The Iraq-Iran war of 1980-1989 was also an important milestone in the history of Turkish hospitality. Turkey became home to the tens of thousands of Kurdish refugees following the Halabja massacre in 1988.
After the 1991 gulf war, 468,000 Iraqi Kurds, Yazidis, and Arabs were embraced by Turkey. The Bosnian massacre resulted in the immigration to Turkey of more than 20,000 people between 1992 and 1998.
Turkey also accepted 30,000 ahiska Turks in 1993-2009, while nearly 18,000 Kosovans came to Turkey after the Kosovo war in 1999 and more than 10,000 Macedonian refugees made their way to Turkey in 2001.