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Erdogan Says Turkey 'Won't Expel’ Syrian Refugees

Erdogan Says Turkey 'Won't Expel’ Syrian Refugees

Tuesday, 10 May, 2022 - 08:15
Seasonal workers, mostly Syrian refugees, cut tomatoes in western Turkey (EPA)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed that Turkey will not expel Syrian refugees on its soil to throw them into the arms of "murderers," despite pressure from the opposition.

Speaking at an event in Ankara, Erdogan said: "We will never expel them from this land. Our door is wide open to them. We will continue to host them. We will not throw them into the lap of murderers."

Last week, Erdogan said Ankara aimed to encourage one million refugees to return home by building housing and local infrastructure in Syria.

He said that his country is making the necessary preparations for a comprehensive project that allows the voluntary return of one million Syrians to 13 regions in neighboring Syria.

Turkey intends to provide mosques, schools, hospitals, bakeries, and "all the needs of daily life and self-sufficient economic infrastructure, from agriculture to industry," Erdogan said.

He indicated that some 500,000 Syrians have already returned to "safe regions" in their home country in recent years.

Last week, Turkish media affiliated with the government said it plans to return Syrian refugees to their country, referring to the plans to encourage "voluntary return" and secure housing and services.

The reports pointed out that talks between Turkey and the Syrian regime aim to focus on two main issues, the refugees and the problem of the Kurdish People's Protection Units, the most significant component of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said it was possible to cooperate with the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, on terrorism and migrants without recognizing him.

Cavusoglu stressed that his country supports the unity of the Syrian territory, noting that the Syrian army has recently started fighting the People's Protection Units, the most significant component of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which he said "plans to divide Syria."

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