President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated on Monday Turkey’s determination in supporting and hosting Syrian refugees would continue, despite calls to send them back.
“Turkey is a country that gives the biggest support to the least developed countries and refugees in the world,” Erdogan said in his speech at the International Ombudsman Conference in Istanbul.
Turkey currently hosts some 3.6 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world, and has so far spent $40 billion for them, according to official figures.
Erdogan said Turkey makes a conscious effort to make the lives of civilians in Syria better, unlike other countries who pursue their personal interests in the region.
Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara wants YPG/PKK terrorists to withdraw from the region so a safe zone can be created to pave the way for the safe return of some two million refugees.
“Although Turkey has faced many threats of terrorist organizations and economic pitfalls, it has managed to survive and strengthen itself constantly,” he added.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union — has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK.
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