At Council of Europe meeting, Turkey’s foreign minister says refugee burden “must be shared” as country faces Syrian refugee surge.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu hosted an ad hoc meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the large-scale arrival of refugees from Syria to Turkey on late Sunday.
Cavusoglu said the world must share the refugee burden Turkey has been having for more than two years now, at a speech at dinner with PACE President Anne Brasseur and members.
“Turkey has spent more than $6 billion so far for refugees. The international community’s help is only $300 million. The burden must be shared,” Cavusoglu said.
The foreign minister also mentioned that around 500,000 of the refugees have come of age to get education but “only 40 percent of them can get it”.
“They have no home to go back. There are around 2 million other refugees in countries like Jordan, Egypt Saudi Arabia and Lebanon and their conditions are worse than what they have in Turkey,” Cavusoglu said.
Cavusoglu criticized that still no strategies have been decided on the region’s problems. “There is a coalition consisting 60 countries, 22 of them are core-members, there have been meetings for more than 10 months now but still there is no comprehensive strategy,” he said.
Anne Brasseur, President of PACE, said she was hugely impressed with the “warm welcome that Turkey has given” to refugees from Syria and Iraq.
“Europe as a whole benefits from this, and should do more to help,” she said.
A PACE statement said Sunday a group of parliamentarians from 20 countries — heads of political groups of national delegations — would fly to southern Gaziantep province on June 15 to visit the Elbeyli and Nizip centers in the region ahead of the World Refugee Day on June 20.
Syrian refugees fleeing clashes in Syria’s Tel Abyad town are now pouring into Turkey’s Sanliurfa province in droves through the Akcakale crossing on the Syrian-Turkish border.
According to an official estimate, up to 3,000 fresh refugees are expected to land into Turkey in the latest surge.
Since the past two weeks, the Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD)’s military wing known as the YPG has been carrying out operations to push back Daesh, with the help of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes in the northeast Syrian cities of Tell Abyad and al-Hasakah.
Since the operations began almost 15,000 civilians from adjacent villages and towns have crossed the border into Turkey’s southeastern Sanliurfa province, official sources told Anadolu Agency on Friday.
Resource: Anadolu Agency, June 15, 2015