Issuing a statement on World Refugee Day yesterday, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan slammed the European Union for not sharing the burden when it comes to addressing the needs of refugees.
Turkey, for the fourth consecutive year, is the largest refugee-hosting country according to United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), with mostly those displaced from Syria due to the ongoing civil war.
"While many Western countries who claim to be a cradle of democracy and human rights have been hiding behind barbed wire, Turkey has become a safe harbor for 4 million asylum seekers, more than 3.5 million of which are Syrians. Besides, the European Union has unfortunately not completely fulfilled its financial commitments towards Turkey so far for the Syrian refugees as the requirement of burden sharing," Erdoğan said in his written statement.
Ankara repeatedly calls the European Union to fulfill its promise of over 3 billion euros in aid for Syrian refugees. A deal between Turkey and the European Union stipulates that the European Union will allocate "3+3 billion euros in aid" for the care of refugees in Turkey. Turkey says only 850 million euros were delivered so far.
"Everyday, thousands of people who have to leave their country in order to protect the lives of themselves and their families are added to this figure. The humanitarian tragedies we witness frequently in the Mediterranean Sea are enough to demonstrate the disgraceful level of the irregular migration problem. Throughout her history, Turkey without any discrimination has embraced the oppressed that escaped from cruelty, oppression and violence. In accordance with our historical, conscientious, humanitarian customs and our international obligations, we maintain our principled stance today," Erdoğan also said in his statement.
"Turkey will continue to be in solidarity with the oppressed and the victimized people without any discrimination, as it had done before," he added.