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Türkiye, other states neighboring crisis regions bear real burden of migration, refugees issue: Erdogan

Despite the worsening global migration and refugee crisis, some developed countries are still taking “no responsibility,” leaving others such as Türkiye to shoulder the “real burden,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.

“The real burden of the issue of migration and refugees does not fall on developed nations with a strong voice, but on countries like ours that are neighbors to the crisis regions,” Erdogan said in a video message to the Global Parliamentary Conference on migration.

The two-day event, co-hosted by the Grand National Assembly of Türkiye and Inter-Parliamentary Union, kicked off in Istanbul as the annual World Refugee Day is marked around the globe.

Erdogan said some countries were using “the few hundred refugees they have accepted as advertising material,” criticizing them for taking “no responsibility in the face of the deepening humanitarian crises.”

UN figures show that high-income countries host an average of 2.7 refugees per 1,000 people, while the figure is 5.8 for middle- and low-income countries, he added.

Erdogan said the global refugee problem has reached a level not seen since World War II, stressing that “no one can escape their responsibilities today.”

For Türkiye, which lies at the crossroads of continents and cultures, the phenomenon of migration has been a part of its entire history, he added.

Erdogan also spoke about the inhumane treatment of refugees by Greece, a country that Türkiye and human rights groups have repeatedly condemned for its illegal practice of pushing back asylum seekers and using violence against vulnerable people, including women and children.

“We witness the suffering of refugees every day as they are persecuted, robbed, beaten, and even killed by Greek security forces,” the Turkish president said.

Türkiye hosts more refugees than any other country in the world, sheltering nearly 4 million people, a vast majority of them having fled war-torn Syria over the past decade.

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