Turkish PM Davutoglu hosts Austrian Foreign Minister

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met with Austrian Foreign Minister in Turkey's capital city of Ankara

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (L) meets Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz (R) in Ankara, Turkey

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met with Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz on Saturday at Cankaya Palace in Ankara.

Following the meeting, Kurz said in a joint press conference with Foreign Minister, Feridun Sinirlioglu that ‘’We support the idea of establishing safe zones within Syria’’ emphasising the importance of all actors to take part in the negotiations over the issue.

Kurz also said ‘’We have a strong relationship with Turkey and we appreciate its efforts for the refugees’’

Davutoglu also met the representatives of the Syrian refugees on Saturday, to resolve the ongoing border crisis, as crowds of people are still waiting in European border town of Edirne.

The closed-door meeting at the palace lasted for nearly an hour.

In the meantime, Turkish Minister of Customs and Trade, Cenap Asci said on Saturday that ‘’Syrian refugees hoping to cross the Turkish border into Greece or Bulgaria can leave, but neighboring countries are not taking them in."

“They do not have passports. Refugees are now waiting. If neighboring countries let them in, Turkey would let them pass through the border,” Asci stated, while on a visit to the Turkish province of Aksaray.

The four day crisis, which led to a mass amount of refugees pilling on the Edirne border, started after a rumor on social media, which stated that Germany would accept thousands of Syrian refugees.

That hearsay led to hundreds of Syrian refugees living in Turkey, to gather at Istanbul’s main bus station in order buy a ticket to travel over the Turkish-Greek border.

Unable to buy tickets, some refugees even walked to Edirne, a province bordering EU member Greece.

Although the rumor was denied by the Turkish authorities, many refugees insisted on crossing into Greece or Bulgaria to march towards Germany.

Asci said that Serbia and Hungary had sealed their borders in order to stop Syrian refugees advancing further into the continent.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, Numan Kurtulmus also told reporters on Friday that the total amount of aid provided by Turkey to the Syrian refugees in the country has reached 7.6 billion dollars, pointing out that only 416 million dollars of the amount has been contributed by the international community.

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 added.

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 so far 53,228 refugees have been saved by Turkey on the open seas.


TRTWorld and agencies