World Bulletin / News Desk
German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has said Turkey and other countries sharing a border with Syria should be helped with their refugee crises to stem the flow of asylum seekers into western Europe.
In remarks made after a meeting with local administrators in Berlin Tuesday, Gabriel said: "We have to talk with Turkey and help them because their capacities are also running out. I know, Turkey struggled a lot in the last years. I myself visited the refugee camps there which have high standards."
According to the UN, there are 1.9 million Syrian refugees registered in Turkey alone as of Aug. 25. Since April 2011, Turkey has spent $6 billion for Syrian refugees, according to Turkish Foreign Ministry.
He also said that other neighboring countries with Syria also needed help to deal with refugees and emphasized the need for improving refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon.
The refugee crisis has put Europe’s border-free Schengen agreement under pressure as many EU countries, particularly those in central and eastern Europe, remain reluctant to accept tens of thousands of refugees.
Referring to EU interior ministers meeting held in Brussels Monday that failed to reach an agreement over quotas for 120,000 refugees, Gabriel said that Europe had disgraced itself.
"Yesterday, Europe again disgraced itself," he said.
He underlined that Germany could not solve the refugee problem on its own.
New figures show more than 2,800 refugees died crossing the Mediterranean Sea so far this year, including 167 in the waters between Greece and Turkey, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Tuesday.
The vast majority, 2,620 people, died crossing from north Africa to southern Europe, primarily Italy, the agency said of statistics updated Tuesday.
The figure is slightly lower than the same period last year, when 2,993 perished.
Nearly 465,000 - more than double last year's figure - reached Europe via the Mediterranean, including 340,991 people landing in Greece and 121,619 in Italy, the IOM said.
The largest national group was from Syria, where refugees have fled the four-year civil war, with 175,375 Syrians reaching Greece and 6,710 arriving in Italy.
“Over this past weekend and through the first days of this week, an estimated 72 migrants have lost their lives in their attempt to cross into the Greek islands from Turkey,” the IOM said in a statement.
Last Mod: 16 Eylül 2015, 09:07