Turkey, Middle East

New refugee influx heading to Turkey from Syria: Erdogan

Turkey hosts 4M refugees, 50,000 more moving towards country from Syria, Turkish president tells Muslim world leaders summit

Merve Yildizalp and Baris Gundogan   | 19.12.2019
New refugee influx heading to Turkey from Syria: Erdogan

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia 

Already hosting 4 million refugees, Turkey is facing a new refugee influx of 50,000 Syrians, the nation’s president said on Thursday.

The Turkish president’s remarks came during a round table meeting on the priority of development and challenges with Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as part of the Kuala Lumpur Summit of Muslim world leaders. 

“Turkey already hosts 4 million [refugees], now another 50,000 are heading to our land from Idlib, [Syria],” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital.

“We spent more than $40 billion. Neither Turkey gets serious support from the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees nor the European Union keeps its promise,” he said implying the refugee deal between Turkey and the EU. 

Under the 2016 deal, the EU had pledged €6 billion ($6.6 billion) aid to improve living conditions of Syrian refugees in Turkey. But only €2.22 billion ($2.43 billion) were disbursed by June 2019.

Turkey currently hosts some 3.6 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world. Ankara has so far spent $40 billion for the refugees, according to official figures.

Hundreds of government officials, businesspeople, representatives of civil societies and experts from different sectors across the Muslim world followed the meeting and asked questions to the leaders.

Answering a question on terrorism, Erdogan said: "They say 'we need to fight terrorism.' How will we fight terrorists? We cannot fight terrorism just using words, we need to take actions.”

"When we say 'we need to build a safe zone,' no one gives any support, but when it comes to weapons, the gun comes," Erdogan added.

According to the Turkish president, over 30,000 truckloads of weapon, ammunition and equipment were sent to the YPG/PKK terror group in Syria by imperialist world powers for free. 

Addressing a question on the situation in Libya, Erdogan reiterated Turkey's support for Fayez al-Sarraj, the leader of Libya’s UN-recognized government in Tripoli.

On Nov. 27, Ankara and Tripoli-based Libyan government reached two separate memorandums of understanding (MoU), one on military cooperation and the other one on maritime boundaries of countries in the Eastern Mediterranean. 

Trade wars 

At a time when trade wars are being used as tools to pressure nations, the issue of using national currencies for bilateral trade has become urgent, Erdogan said.

He said there is great potential among Islamic countries in the field of interest-free finance.

“We can establish a joint working group to realize this potential,” said the Turkish leader. 

Erdogan said Turkey reduced its foreign dependency to 30% in the defense sector from 80% in 2003. 

“We are one of the four most developed states in the world in armed unmanned aerial vehicles,” he said.

“We take care of our defense needs by producing warships, helicopters, tanks, armored vehicles, missile technology and even export them to friendly nations and allies,” Erdogan added.

Following the meeting, Erdogan, Rouhani and Mahathir signed goodwill agreements. 

* Writing by Fahri Aksut and Havva Kara Aydin


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