Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Sunday met with six representatives of Syrian refugees who have been waiting for days to go to Europe in Turkey’s northwestern Edirne Province and Istanbul.
The meeting came after thousands of refugees fled to Edirne, which borders Greece and Bulgaria, in an attempt to cross further into Europe.
“We will try to make the Syrian refugees issue an agenda topic at the United Nations General Assembly,” Davutoglu said to the representatives.
Asking the refugees to end their walk to the Turkish border until a country allows their entry, Davutoglu continued “We understand the people who want to go to Europe from Turkey or any other country. We will not stop anyone who is willing to leave. Our Syrian siblings' needs will be provided for while they are in Turkey. In addition, we are ready to send you by planes to any country that will accept you.”
Davutoglu said the Global Forum on Migration and Development meeting in Istanbul next month would focus on Syrian refugees.
Hundreds of Syrian refugees on Sept. 15 started to march toward Turkey’s western border province of Edirne. However, the refugees were not allowed to enter the city, and were stopped by Turkish security forces.
After five days, the refugees lodged in a renowned site in the city where a tournament for traditional Turkish oil-wrestling called Kirkpinar is held every year, after meeting with officials.
Thousands of refugees also had been waiting at the Istanbul main bus terminal to get to Edirne. The refugees had been staying at the terminal for days and some of them had pitched tents.
Thousands of mostly Syrian refugees are currently attempting to reach western European countries using a route through Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, and Austria.
Turkey is a transit point for refugees aiming to reach European countries from Syria because of its location bridging the Middle East and Europe.
Syrian refugees escaping the violence in their country fled Syria in large numbers following the escalation of the Syrian Civil War in 2012. One of their most preferred destinations was neighbouring Turkey, which hosts the most Syrian refugees in the world according to United Nations registration records.
Nearly two million are hosted in Turkey, home to the world’s largest refugee population.