Erdogan proposes building refugee city in northern Syria

Turkish president proposes to build 4,500-square metre city with international community to help people fleeing war in Syria

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gives a speech at an award ceremony in Istanbul on March 4, 2016.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested on Friday to build a city in northern Syria for refugees fleeing the war-torn country.

In his address at an award ceremony in Istanbul, Erdogan called on the international community to join hands with the Syrian refugees.

"Let's build a city in northern Syria. Let's build an approximately 4,500-square metre [wide] city and include everything, infrastructure…with [help from] the international community." he said.

He said Turkey and other countries could cooperate in the construction of such an endeavour.

Syria has remained locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity. Since then, more than 250,000 people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced, according to UN figures.

Hosting close to 2.7 million refugees, the highest number in the world, Turkey has spent nearly $10 billion of its own resources to support them.

Turkey also has become a major transit country for refugees and migrants seeking to enter Europe through the Aegean.

The president criticised Western policy towards refugees saying, "What the West tells us? Here, we will give you €3 billion in a year. Look, it has been four months since they gave us this promise, but they have not still given anything."

Erdogan underlined that Turkey did not close its doors to refugees, like Western countries did. The country always welcome them and will continue to leave their doors open.

TRTWorld, AA