A senior official with the United Nations Population Fund has praised Turkey's humanitarian efforts, saying the country has been "a model of hospitality."
"Turkey has been an example in terms of hosting refugee populations. Over 3 million people are still living in Turkey as refugees. And I think really from that perspective, Turkey has been a model of hospitality and providing services to a population who was really in need," Alanna Armitage, the fund's regional director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, told Anadolu Agency (AA) in an interview.
Stressing that there has been "great progress" in some areas related to population and development across the U.N. Economic Commission for the Europe region, Armitage said: "I think we have to be happy about some of the really good things that have happened in the region in the last five years, particularly around the reduction of maternal mortality. And Turkey has been a country that has also done exceptionally well in that area."
Nearly four million Syrian and Iraqi refugees have sought refuge in Turkey in the past seven-to-eight years, due to the instability and armed conflicts in their countries. The Turkish government has spent more than $20 billion on expenses for the refugees to meet their social and economic needs.
In addition, officials have said that nearly 300,000 babies have been born to Syrian refugee families in Turkey. Syrian refugees are able to benefit from schools, hospital and other public institutions for their needs.
Ankara has often criticized the EU and other international bodies for not sharing the financial burden of refugees, despite promises made.
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