Turkey, Europe

Top Turkish official slams Europe over refugee crisis

Actions during crisis 'will remain like a black spot in Europe's history,' says parliament speaker Kahraman

Servet Günerigök   | 15.09.2016
Top Turkish official slams Europe over refugee crisis Speaker of Turkish Grand National Assembly Ismail Kahraman speaks at the Conference of Presidents of Parliaments at Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France on September 15, 2016. ( Mustafa Yalçın - Anadolu Agency )

Ankara

STRASBURG

Turkish Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman on Thursday criticized European countries for closing their borders to Syrian refugees.

Speaking at European Conference of Presidents of Parliament in Strasbourg, France, Kahraman criticized certain European countries over "building walls [to block] refugees and closing their doors", while Turkey hosted around 3 million Syrian refugees.

"But it is clear that this method does not correspond to Europe's values. This attitude will remain like a black spot in Europe's history," said Kahraman.

Norway has been erecting a steel fence along its border with Russia to control the flow of refugees -- despite none have crossed the remote Arctic frontier so far this year.

Norway’s barrier follows months of fence-building across Europe in response to the refugee influx.

Hungary is planning a second fence on its frontier with Serbia, adding to a razor-wire fence that was put up last year after around 400,000 migrants crossed Hungary on their way to western and northern Europe.

In April, Austria began building a “migrant fence” at the Italian border and two months later Croatia erected a fence at its Batina border crossing with Serbia.

Last December, a border fence between Sweden and Denmark was completed in preparation for the introduction of identity checks between the two nations.

In his remarks, the Turkish parliament speaker said migration and the refugee crisis had caused increasing racism and Islamophobia in Europe, where he said some countries attempted to associate the refugees with terrorism.

Kahraman urged parliamentary assemblies and national parliaments to say no to racism and Islamophobia, which he said "do not have a place in the 21st century".

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the regime of Bashar al-Assad cracked down on pro-democracy protests -- which erupted as part of the Arab Spring uprisings -- with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, more than a quarter of a million victims have been killed and more than 10 million displaced across the war-battered country, according to the UN.

The Syrian Center for Policy Research, however, puts the death toll from the six-year conflict at more than 470,000 people.

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