Turkish prime minister has demanded the world act to help impoverished Syrian refugees in Turkey in a sign that Ankara is facing difficulties in financially coping with growing influx of Syrians fleeing violence in neighboring Syria.
“We want the world to act,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a business gathering in Aeagean city of İzmir, referring to more than 600,000 Syrians who took refuge in more than a dozen camps and rented houses across Turkey.
“We are providing services to 600,000 people who came from Syria to our country but the world is not supporing us,” Erdogan said, highlighting the lack of international aid to address the needs of Syrians as the conflict in their country took more than expected.
Turkish authorities said earlier this month that the number of Syrian refugees in Turkey exceeded 600,000 and more than 400,000 of them are living outside refugee camps.
Turkey, which shares a 910-km (565-mile) border with Syria, is a strong critic of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and a major supporter of opposition fighting to oust him.
The more than two-and-a-half-year conflict has killed over 100,000 people and displaced millions.
Erdogan complained that only $135 million arrived from international donors while Turkey has already spent $2 billion so far. Turkey provides free meal, education and healthcare for Syrian refugees living in Turkey.
About 200,000 Syrians are living in 21 refugee camps, mainly near cities near the border while the rest chose to live in rented accommodation outside the camps.
The United Nations expects another 2 million Syrians to become refugees in 2014 and 2.25 million more to be displaced within the country.
The prime minister said Turkey will still continue to shoulder the burden because he said they are “our brothers.” “But we want the world to give a hand,” he added.
Last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey would keep its border with Syria open to people fleeing the violence but said the world needed to share the humanitarian burden.
CihanLast Mod: 30 Ekim 2013, 15:52