Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called on people to embrace refugees returning to Turkey under a deal with the European Union that aims to stem the flow of refugees into Europe.
Speaking at an event marking the 171st anniversary of Turkish Police Organisation in Ankara on Monday, Davutoglu said, "You should treat refugees as your children or as your brother."
His remarks came as the first group of refugees returning from the Greek island of Lesbos under the EU deal arrived in Turkey on Monday morning.
The deal between EU and Turkey requires that Ankara take back refugees who have crossed into Europe illegally from Turkish soil. For each refugee returned, one already settled in Turkey is to be accepted into the EU.
In exchange, the EU has promised to provide Turkey with more financial aid, visa-free travel for its citizens, and to restart negotiations on EU membership.
Davutoglu’s remarks came before a meeting with European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos at Cankaya Palace in Turkey's capital Ankara.
According to the Prime Minister’s office, Davutoglu and Avramopoulos discussed the refugee deal between the EU and Turkey.
Just over a million people have fled war in the Middle East and travelled to the EU in 2015, most taking a dangerous sea voyage from Turkey to Greece and heading north through the Balkans to Germany.