UK Prime Minister David Cameron has stated that it would be wrong to suggest Turkey is not a safe country to host its record number of Syrian refugees whom the country has been taking care of for the last five years since the beginning of the civil war in Syria.
“I don’t think it’s right to say Turkey is an unsafe country for Syrian refugees," Cameron said in reply to a question from opposition Labour Party’s leader Jeremy Corbyn during his address to lawmakers in the House of Commons on last week’s refugee deal between Turkey and the European Union (EU).
“Any return process predicated on its being so will be flawed, illegal,” Corbyn previously stated, quoting an Amnesty International report which claimed Turkey was not a safe country for refugees.
“In fact, I think that’s slightly insulting to the Turks who are currently hosting 2.6 million people who have fled Syria,” Cameron pointed out.
“So what is going to happen is those people who don’t apply for asylum will be returned to Turkey immediately. Those who do will go through a rapid process but with all the proper procedures in place, and as the agreement says all irregular migrants will be returned to Turkey because it is a safe country for those refugees,” he expounded on the refugee deal.
Turkey and European Union leaders approved a deal intended on halting further refugee flows into Europe, which will provide visa liberation for Turkish citizens and ensure additional funding to Turkey in addition to the billions the country has already spent on its refugees.
The long awaited deal aims to block the influx of refugees into Europe, mainly through preventing people smugglers from sending refugees across the Aegean Sea into Greece.
For each Syrian refugee Turkey agrees to take back from among those who prevent efforts towards stopping the refugee flow, Turkey will in turn see a Syrian refugee resettled directly to Europe, the deal outlines.
Cameron also indicated that Turkey deserves praise for hosting millions of Syrian people who have fled their country after the beginning of the civil war in 2011.
Commemorating the sixth anniversary of the Syrian civil war, the non-governmental American Relief Coalition for Syria awarded Turkey on Saturday for its "tireless advocacy" for the Syrian people.
Turkey has spent nearly $10 billion of its own resources on the refugees, whose number in the country has recently exceeded the record 2.7 million-mark.
During the brutal Syrian civil war, nearly 8 million people have been displaced inside the country while at least 5 million have fled to neighbouring countries Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan.