U2's Bono, US senators meet Turkish PM Davutoğlu, praise refugee efforts

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
Published 03.04.2016 17:47
Updated 03.04.2016 18:23

U2 front man and activist Bono met Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu during a visit to Turkey over the weekend with a group of U.S. Senators.

In the meeting held in Çankaya prime ministerial complex in Ankara on Sunday, Davutoğlu thanked his guests and said that their presence is a great opportunity for Syrian refugees for their voices to be heard in the rest of the world.

He said that the thousands of Syrian children born under Turkish protection "are also members of our family".

"There are 300,000 people in the camps," he said. "The majority of the rest is living in cities. Our schools are giving education to Turkish and Syrian students. More than 100,000 Syrian babies were born in our hospitals. They are also the members of our family."

"I feel honored by the courtesy of the Turkish people. What you do is an extraordinary thing; it's a lesson in courtesy", Bono said, adding that the public had "opened doors for their neighbors". The Irish singer-songwriter said Turkey was at the top of the list of countries hosting refugees, adding that the Turkish model deserved attention.

Stating the he had recently visited a camp on the Somali border which had been standing for 20 years, Bono said many of its inhabitants had been born there, meaning the authorities "don't know what to do with this population".

"You are applying a quite different model in Turkey and we should understand how you achieved this", he added.

Senator Lindsay Graham also spoke in the meeting, and thanked Turkish government and people for their efforts.

Along with Bono and Graham, Senators David Perdue and Thomas Tillis; Congressmen David Jolly, Tom Rice and Adam Kinzinger; attended by U.S. Ambassador in Ankara John Bass, paid a visit to a refugee camp on Friday in Gaziantep's Nizip district, where nearly 15,000 refugees reside.

Syria has remained locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the regime of Bashar al-Assad cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, more than 250,000 people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced, according to U.N. figures.

The conflict in Syria has now driven more than four million people-a sixth of the country's population-to seek sanctuary in neighboring countries, making it the largest refugee crisis for a quarter of a century, according to the U.N.

Turkey is now the largest refugee-hosting country in the world, with at least 2.7 million Syrians, and so far has spent more than seven billion euros ($7.7 billion) meeting their needs.

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