President Erdogan criticises UN over Syria policy, refugees

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan strongly criticises United Nations over its Syria policy and its response to massive refugee flow which has mostly been making headway towards Turkish border

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during Young Businessmen Confederation of Turkey (TUGIK) plenary session on finance in Ankara, Turkey on Feb. 11, 2016

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has strongly criticised the United Nations over its Syria policy and its response to the massive refugee flow which has mostly been making headway towards the Turkish border.

Erdogan has said that the UN has not taken any security measures after the Assad regime’s recent assault in the northern countryside of Aleppo that was backed by heavy Russian air strikes which has consequently triggered the massive refugee flow to the Turkish border.

Instead, the international community’s top body has been calling on Turkey to open its borders to tens of thousands of refugees, Erdogan slammed the UN while asking the question, “What is its mission? How does it work?”

He reminded the UN that Turkey has spent nearly $10 billion for refugees the UN has only spent $455 million.

"There is a chance the new wave of refugees will reach 600,000 if air strikes continue. We are making preparations for it," he added. 

Despite the increasingly high cost of spending needed to maintain the refugees in the country, Erdogan said last week that “"as required by our conscientious responsibility, we house over 2.7 million Syrian and Iraqi refugees. Turkey houses the most refugees in the world. Despite its heavy cost, we maintain our open door policy."

Erdogan also underlined that the flow of Syrian refugees into Europe will not stop as long as Russia’n and Syrian regime’ air strikes continue to kill civilians in the country.

"Our European friends want us to stop the refugee flow, is there any other choice for civilians in Aleppo than to flee when they are under Russia's heavy bombardment?" he said.

Tens of thousands of Syrians since last Thursday have been fleeing to the Turkish border north of Aleppo, following heavy Russian air strikes and reports of Syrian regime forces and its allies making gains in Aleppo's northern countryside, cutting opposition supply lines to Turkey.

Taking full control of Aleppo would be a strategic gain for the Assad regime in the five-year conflict that has killed at least 260,000 people across the country and driven out more than half of the Syrian population.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also declared on Wednesday that Syrian regime forces backed by Russia are carrying out a deliberate policy of ethnic cleansing around the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.

"Ethnic cleansing in Syria and Aleppo aimed at only leaving regime supporters behind is being conducted by the Syrian regime and Russia in a very deliberate way," Davutoglu said.

"Every refugee that we accept helps their ethnic cleansing policy but we will continue to accept [refugees]," he added. 

TRTWorld and agencies