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EU minister 'proud of' Turkey hosting 3 mn refugees

Omer Celik says Turkey has so far spent $25 billion for refugees

29.11.2016 - Update : 30.11.2016
EU minister 'proud of' Turkey hosting 3 mn refugees

By Ata Ufuk Seker


Turkey's Minister for EU Affairs Omer Celik on Tuesday said he is "proud of" Turkey hosting three million refugees.

"As a politician, I will all my life be proud of us [Turkey] hosting three million refugees," he said. "But this has never been turned into fodder for domestic politics."

Celik's remarks came during a meeting with foreign and Turkish journalists within the scope of Turkey-EU Civil Society Gathering in Brussels.

Celik said there was never a racist political movement against refugees in Turkey, "unlike Islamophobic, xenophobic movements in Europe."

The EU Minister added that he was "proud of" his country, which "displayed a humanitarian approach towards refugees."

"The EU Ministry's mission is to achieve success in Turkey's EU membership talks and become a permanent member in the union," he said. "We are not a member right now. But there is a historical reality, and that is Turkey has been a European power throughout the history."

Celik also noted some European countries held a referendum to receive just 100-150 refugees.

"In my country, there are 3 million refugees, out of which 800 thousand are children. 200 thousand of them are living in camps, while the rest is hosted in cities thanks to people's hospitality. Think about the humanitarian and political cost of this."

Celik added that Turkey had so far spent around $25 billion for refugees, including aid by both the government and non-governmental organizations.

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