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What Jews, Syrian refugees and a Swedish King have in common

Ahiska Turks fleeing ethnic violence in Central Asia settled in Turkey in 1992. Today, up to 60,000 Ahiska Turks are believed to live in Turkey, which has hosted refugees from various countries over the centuries.
Les Turcs meskhètes (ahiska) ayant fui les violences ethniques en Asie centrale se sont installés en Turquie en 1992. (Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Thanks to its prominent role in accepting Syrians fleeing conflict, Turkey has recently overtaken Pakistan as the country hosting the largest number of refugees in the world.

But this so-called “Turkish hospitality” dates back much further – from Jews escaping the Inquisition in the 15th century to asylum-seekers from Kosovo in 1999.

A new exhibition brings that rich history to life. IRIN checked it out earlier this month in Geneva, where Turkish Ambassador Mehmet Ferden Çarikçi and his deputy Berk Baran took us for a tour in a busy United Nations lobby. 

Syrian refugees in Turkey now number 1.7 million, surpassing the 1.6 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan.

The exhibition will be traveling to Berlin, Vienna, Strasbourg, Brussels and Paris in the coming months. 


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