ISTANBUL, June 20 (Xinhua) -- A Turkish NGO on Tuesday evening invited 100 Syrian refugees to a Ramadan fasting-break dinner with Turkish businessmen in Istanbul, with a view to creating business opportunities for them.
"Our goal is to produce solutions and not to be a spectator on the refugee issue," said Basak Saral, head of the Habitat Association that organized the event in a Syrian restaurant in Istanbul's Fatih district to mark the World Refugee Day.
"In this context, we wanted to bring the refugees, who want to start their own businesses, together with the important players of the Turkish business community," she said.
Since September 2016, the association has trained 1,000 refugees for business creation, and has been offering continued technical assistance to those business owners.
"Now it is time for them to contribute positively to their local communities as well as Turkey's economy," said Saral.
Abdullah Hakimi, a Syrian refugee, called on the world countries to show their solidarity with refugees by treating them as "world citizens."
"We're here to show the world that we are world citizens and not refugees," he said.
Hakimi came to Turkey three years ago from the Syrian town of Homs and is now working as an electrical engineer with a Turkish company.
According to a new report released by the UNHCR refugee agency, 65.6 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide last year due to wars, persecution and violence.
Syria has the largest number of displaced people at 12 million, or almost two thirds of its population, while Turkey is the largest host of refugees in the world by sheltering 3.5 million from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries, the report said.
Turkey has spent a total of 25 billion U.S. dollars up to now on the refugees, according to the Turkish Interior Ministry.