Friends left Turkey alone in migrant crisis: Turkish PM
REUTERS photoThe friends of Turkey and the other countries most affected by the Syrian migrant have been abandoned in attempting to combat the crisis, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said April 19.
“Our friends have unfortunately not taken the necessary responsibility in sharing the burden [of the migrant crisis]. Regional countries have been left to their own devices,” said Davutoğlu during an address to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg.
“I especially want to stress this: I have not spoken of the things that we have done and will do for our Syrian brothers to be hailed, and I am not here to be appreciated. We are only sharing these things with the international public to draw attention to the importance of the extent, seriousness and [need to] share the burden of the problem,” said Davutoğlu.
Davutoğlu spoke in Turkish after the language was established as one of PACE’s working languages.
Davutoğlu said he was happy to be the first Turkish prime minister to address PACE in Turkish.
“Our beautiful Turkish will be used as a speaking language in this hall and in the Council of Europe,” he said.
Davutoğlu said irregular migration was one of the common problems Turkey and Europe were experiencing, adding that Turkey had saved around 92,000 migrants since January 2015 in the Aegean Sea, which has become the busiest route for migrants wishing to reach the EU.
He said that while around 6,800 migrants were crossing the Aegean every day in October 2015, this figure had been reduced to around 2,000 in February, and to around 860 in March. This figure was at 320 a day in the first half of April before falling to its current low of 60 migrants a day.
The sharp fall in the migrants trying to cross the Aegean in the past month stems from a migrant deal reached between Turkey and the EU on March 18. Two days later, Turkey began taking back all migrants reaching Greece, with the EU taking one Syrian migrant from Turkey for every migrant Ankara takes back from Greece.
On the first month anniversary of the deal, figures reported by state-run Anadolu Agency stated that around 6,000 migrants had reached Greek islands since March 20, while around 3,000 others had been caught before being able to reach Greece. The number of migrants reaching Greece before the deal was about 50,000.
A total of 315 migrants, mostly from Pakistan, have been sent to Turkey within the scope of the readmission deal with the EU, while five migrants drowned while attempting the perilous journey.