Up to 250,000 migrants heading toward Turkey from Idlib: Erdoğan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said up to 250,000 Syrians were heading toward the Turkish borders to flee violence in the northwestern province of Idlib, the last rebel-held enclave in Syria, informing about preparations to prevent them from entering Turkey.
“Right now, 200,000 to 250,000 migrants are moving towards our borders. We are trying to prevent them with some measures, but it’s not easy. It’s difficult, they are humans,” Erdoğan told a conference on Jan. 2 in the Turkish capital.
A fresh intensified military campaign by the Syrian regime forces has triggered a new influx towards the Turkish borders from the Idlib region, which has a population of four million. Turkey has called on Russia to use its influence on the Syrian regime to stop the offensive.
The Turkish and Russian presidents, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Vladimir Putin, will meet in Istanbul on Jan. 8 for the inauguration of a natural gas pipeline, but will also discuss recent developments in Syria and Libya.
Erdoğan criticized Western powers for not doing enough on the refugee crisis, saying, “We cannot build barriers or fences against these people just like the West does.”
Turkey believes that it has to choose a humane way in receiving the migrants fleeing violence, Erdoğan stressed, recalling that it hosts around five million refugees in its 81 provinces.
“Although they [the West] have more resources than we do, why don’t they accept them, why don’t they open the gates?” Erdoğan asked.
Turkey teaches lesson to West and Arab nations
Turkey’s open-door policy for the refugees constitutes a very important lesson of humanity to both the West and the Arab world, Erdoğan said, “Why do I mention it? Look, the Arab League came together and took decisions to exclude Turkey. Who are we hosting in our country? Almost all of the four million Syrian refugees on our lands are Arab. Only 350,000 of them are Kurds.”
“The Arab League does not see that Turkey is hosting Arabs and still takes decisions against Turkey,” Erdoğan said.
“They take such decisions shamelessly. Why? Because they have different ideas, but I won’t go into detail.”
Turkey is hosting all these refugees because it’s Turkey, he said. “We are Turkey. Alone this gives us a power and superiority that nobody has.”