Turkish PM pleased with reaction to safe zone proposal

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu expresses contentment with reactions of world leaders to call for safe zone in Syria

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkish PM Davutoglu is seen speaking to the press in New York in this 29 Sept. photo

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said he is “pleased” by the reaction of key world leaders to calls for a safe zone to be established in northern Syria.

Speaking to Turkish reporters in New York on Tuesday, Ahmet Davutoglu cited recent discussions with the leaders of the US, the UK and France over the creation of a zone inside war-torn Syria to deal with the current refugee crisis in the country.

"I am very pleased to observe that the three leaders see Turkey's demands on a safe zone as more than needed and right during our discussion both with Mr. Hollande, Mr. Obama and Mr. Cameron," Davutoglu said.

The Turkish leader added: "This demand is not related to Turkey's national interests but, rather, to preventing the spread of refugee problem while keeping the refugees in Syria and offering the best services [to them] in Syria, ensuring everyone remains in their homeland in the safe zone."

The premier added that the discussion of the refugee crisis by every country at UN General Assembly meetings made him happy, saying: "It is an important step."

Europe is facing its biggest refugee crisis in decades, with thousands of asylum seekers from Middle Eastern and African countries trying to reach the continent.

The majority of these are Syrian refugees seeking to flee a civil war that has claimed more than 250,000 lives since 2011 and resulted in one of the largest refugee exoduses since World War II.

The UN refugee agency says of the latest million people to flee Syria, 95 percent of them have gone to Turkey, which presently hosts more refugees than any other country in the world.

Of those in Turkey, more than two million are from Syria.