Turkey, Politics, Americas

Erdogan slams EU’s failure to keep promises to Turkey

Turkey left alone since beginning of Syrian conflict, Turkish leader says

Kasım İleri,Övünç Kutlu   | 21.09.2016
Erdogan slams EU’s failure to keep promises to Turkey NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during the 71st session of the UN General Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, United States on September 20, 2016. ( UN Photo/Cia Pak - Anadolu Agency )

New York

NEW YORK

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday the EU has let down his country in terms of its commitments under a refugee deal.

In his speech at a leaders summit on refugees on the sidelines of UN General Assembly, Erdogan said Turkey had successfully fulfilled its commitment to the EU under the refugee deal inked in March.

“As a response to this, the promises made by the EU to Turkey were unfortunately not been kept,” the Turkish leaders said.

The deal aimed to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving conditions for Syrian refugees in Turkey.

“Turkey was left alone since the beginning of Syrian conflict and once again I think we are facing the same consequence,” he added.

Turkey is going to overcome the refugee burden, he said, but according to Erdogan, the EU can never “account for the inconsistency they have displayed in the face of such a fundamental humanitarian crisis.”

The deal included a 6 billion euro ($6.8 billion) aid package for Turkey to care for millions of refugees it is hosting.

Turkey hosts the maximum number of refugees worldwide, Erdogan said, sharing Turkey's plans about what to do for refugees in future.

"As Turkey, with a humanitarian-centered approach, we have kept our borders wide open to those fleeing tyranny and oppression,” he said.

The number of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Turkey has already reached 3 million.

According to Erdogan, Turkey has allocated $25 billion in total, $12 billion from the government’s budget, while the rest came from non-governmental organizations and municipalities in the country.

The country has received only $525 million from the international community, Erdogan said.

Addressing the challenges Turkey faces amid the refugee crisis, the president said there are about 835,000 Syrian children in the country who have reached schooling age and about 310,000 of them have been enrolled in school programs through non-governmental organizations and other civilian initiatives.

He called on the world to share the burden and contribute to the education of the victims of the Syrian civil war.

The Turkish leader also criticized the international community for its failure to address conflicts going on in the world.

“In a world, where babies are murdered, no one can remain innocent,” he said. “We should immediately, promptly and resolutely take action to stop this crisis, otherwise we won't have the opportunity to explain to the future generations why we were delayed in our actions.”

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