Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 14
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
The European Union is trying to make Turkey a buffer zone for Syrian refugees, ex-Prime Minister of Northern Cyprus Hakki Atun said in an exclusive interview with Trend Dec.14.
The civil war, which started in March 2011 when the Assad regime responded to anti-government protests with a violent crackdown, made Syria the world's single-largest source of refugees and displaced people.
Nearly 4 million Syrians have become refugees and at least 7.6 million have been internally displaced, according to UN figures.
Neighboring Turkey is now the world's largest refugee-hosting country with more than 2 million Syrian refugees on its soil.
The Syrian refugee camps in the country accommodate about 300,000 people. The rest of them are spread throughout the provinces and cities of Turkey. In Istanbul alone, there are currently 40,000 refugees from Syria.
Ankara has so far spent $8 billion to upkeep the Syrian refugees.
"The EU plans to allocate 3 billion euros to Turkey for the maintenance of Syrian refugees, which is disproportionate to the funds already spent by the country on their maintenance," Hakki Atun said.
He went on to add that at the same time, the EU has no intention to accept Syrian refugees.
French President Francois Hollande said in late November that the EU will allocate Turkey the promised 3 billion euros as the country fulfills commitments to receive refugees.
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