Deputy PM announces Turkey spent $7.6 bln on Syrian refugees

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus announces total amount of aid provided to Syrian refugees is 7.6 billion US dollars

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus displaying an image of a refugee trying to survive in the Mediterrenean Sea at a press meeting on September 18, 2015

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told reporters on Friday that the total amount of aid provided by Turkey to refugees in the country is 7.6 billion dollars of which the international community has only contributed 416 million dollars.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recently announced that the number of refugees in Turkey has reached two million.

At the meeting held in prime ministry's headquarters in Ankara, Kurtulmus spoke to the press about Turkey’s efforts for Syrian refugees.

Kurtulmus said Turkey is doing its best to cope with the crisis and compared the number of refugees in Turkey to the figures in Europe.

“Turkey shelters about two million refugees and the number of refugees seeking asylum in Europe is 428,735. Information we have suggests the applications of only 158,000 were accepted. A refugee boat sinks in the Mediterranean every day and unfortunately most of those on board die,” Kurtulmus said.

Saying that “Europe is following a policy of stopping refugee boats with inhumane methods, however, Turkey’s coast guard boats strives to rescue them,” Kurtulmus said that 53,228 refugees have been saved by Turkey.

“In the past five years the number of refugees who lost their lives in the Mediterranean as their boats sunk is 5,950,” he added.

Speaking regarding the situation face by refugees in Turkey’s western border province of Edirne and the ones waiting at the Istanbul’s main bus terminal, Kurtulmus said, “We are trying to convince them to go back or return to camps since there will be no acceptance of refugees by any border country. About 2,300 of them are waiting in Edirne.”

The deputy prime minister explained, “Let me be clear. Our concern is the suffering refugees with children and babies. None of the European countries are really saying anything about accepting them. Wherever they go, they encounter tear gas and guns. They will be left without food.”

“If the European countries say they will accept them, then they can be transported with planes. Some of the people, 90 buses full, were sent back to where they came from. It is not possible for us to send them to the unknown,” Kurtulmus said.


TRTWorld and agencies