Turkey spent $7.6 billion hosting 2.2 million Syrian refugees
ANKARA / EDİRNE
AA PhotoTurkey, which hosts the world’s largest refugee population, has so far spent $7.6 billion caring for 2.2 million Syrians who have fled strife in the Arab republic, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said Sept. 18.
Turkey has been on the front lines of the biggest refugee crisis since World War II. It shares a 900-kilometer border with Syria and has adopted an “open-door policy” toward those fleeing the civil war, now in its fifth year. At the same time, Europe is seeing a record influx of migrants fleeing war, persecution and economic hardship this summer.
A record 300,000 or more Syrians and other migrants have arrived in Greece, mostly setting off from Turkey’s Aegean coast, according to the International Organisation for Migration.
“Our Coast Guard units have rescued 53,228 people, while 274 people have died” in Turkish waters, Kurtulmuş said at a news conference.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Syrian migrants marching toward Edirne in an attempt to cross into Greece have been blocked by Turkish gendarmerie force.
Following a tense, three-day wait, Syrian migrants who camped near Edirne hit the highway to march into the city, which borders Greece.
The group’s way has been blocked by the gendarmerie at a short distance from the gates.
Meanwhile, the TEM highway traveling to Edirne has also been blocked to traffic.
A large group of migrants have been camping near the city’s entrance since Sep. 15, as their attempts to enter the city on foot have been blocked by gendarmerie and police teams.
Edirne Gov. Dursun Ali Şahin, however, performed Friday prayers on Sept. 18 along with a group of male migrants on the road to Edirne.
Migrants briefly celebrated when a drone belonging to an Italian television taking their footage flew overhead, as they had been led to believe it was a helicopter that Germany had sent to help ease their passage through Turkey.
Some of them waved their hands at the drone, saying, “This helicopter was sent from Germany to do an inspection about our situation and let us in.”