THO Hosts Roundtable Discussions with AFAD President Mehmet Gulluoglu

Dr. Gulluoglu discussed Turkey’s approach to the Syrian refugee crisis with government officials, INGO representatives, and American University students
On September 22, 2017, THO hosted two roundtable discussions featuring the President of Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), Dr. Mehmet Gulluoglu.
 
The first event was a luncheon during which Dr. Gulluoglu had a candid discussion with representatives from government agencies and INGOs, such as USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, the International Rescue Committee, Catholic Relief Services, Syria Relief and Development, and the Syrian American Council. Dr. Gulluoglu discussed AFAD’s achievements since 2011, when Syrian refugees began to flow into Turkey, along with his current concerns about managing the global humanitarian crisis. He discussed Turkey's  
commendable approach to the refugee crisis, taking in three million refugees and working with INGOs and other government agencies to provide the Syrian refugee community with basic needs (such as food and shelter), education opportunities, livelihood support, and health services. Attendees were able to ask questions pertaining to their own organizations' concerns.
 
The second event was a roundtable discussion between Dr. Gulluoglu and students of American University, namely members of the No Lost Generation chapter. Dr. Gulluoglu discussed his medical background and previous experience as General Director of Turk Kizilay (Turkish Red Crescent), and he addressed questions from the students. One question was on Turkey’s ability to provide health care for refugees, in which Dr. Gulluoglu informed the students that healthcare is not a high concern because, due to the healthcare system already in place in Turkey, every refugee has access to free healthcare. Dr. Gulluoglu put the current refugee crisis in perspective by comparing the humanitarian aid sector, worth about 25-35 billion USD, with other multi-hundred billion dollar sectors such as the cosmetics industry, which is worth upwards of 200 billion USD. He reinforced the importance of humanitarian aid, especially right now with 65 million displaced people globally, and he emphasized the need for younger generations to get involved and continue humanitarian work.