Erdogan: What drowned in Mediterranean is our humanity

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan harshly criticises Western countries over refugee crisis in Europe where thousands of refugees have died in recent months while fleeing

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gives a speech during the opening session of the Business 20 (B20) Turkey Summit

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday harshly criticised Western countries for not responding to the refugee crisis in Europe, saying that the West turned the Mediterranean into a grave for refugees.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the B20 conference in Turkey’s capital Ankara, Erdogan said “the European countries that turned the Mediterranean, where the most ancient civilizations were based, into a grave for refugees are responsible for the every refugee who lost their life.”

Erdogan’s speech came the day after at least 11 Syrian refugees drowned off the Turkish coast as they tried to reach Greek islands in the Aegean Sea on two separate boats.

The incident hit headlines in national and international newspapers with a heart wrenching photo of the lifeless body of the three-year-old Syrian boy that washed ashore on a beach in Turkey’s Bodrum district on the Aegean Sea.

“A three-year-old child who died on a boat carrying refugees washed up our shores. Won’t humanity account for this child’s death?" said Erdogan.

"Remember those animals who were stuck in oil spills during various wars, the ones who remember those animals, I wonder if they will also remember the three-year-old child, his five-year-old brother, mother, and father? How will they account for this?”

Reiterating his famous “thr world is bigger than five” motto, Erdogan also criticised the global security system based on the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, saying that the council does not take anything into account, but the interests of the five permanent members.

“That’s why we say ‘the world is bigger than the five.’ The fate of nearly 200 countries cannot be given into the hands of one of these five countries alone,” he said.

“The sustainability of current unreliable structure of the global security system, which backs the cruel not the oppressed, is invalid now."

"The western-based world is something of the past. A multicentred-world is arising now. We must accept this.”

TRTWorld and agencies