EU failed to help Turkey with Syrians: Erdogan

By Enes Kaplan

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AA) – Turkey has spent some $33 billion helping refuges from the Syrian civil war, while the European Union has broken its pledges of help, said Turkey’s president on Tuesday.

The EU “was supposed to allocate to international organizations, not us, €6 billion [$6.87 billion], using a 3+3 installment system,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a meeting of business leaders in Budapest, Hungary.

But, he added, “they only gave out €1.7 billion [$1.94 billion]. Despite all that, we continue our services."

Speaking at a Turkey-Hungary Business Forum meeting, Erdogan highlighted how Turkey currently hosts some 3.5 million Syrian refugees, more than any country in the world.

The president also said Turkey has footage of refugees being left for dead in the Mediterranean and Aegean seas.

"I say it sadly, the international community failed to fulfill its responsibility to find a solution to the refugee issues," said Erdogan, on the last day of a two-day visit to Hungary.

"Our 'safe zones' proposal that could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives and managed to prevent displacing millions of Syrians was deliberately sabotaged, especially by our allies," Erdogan said.

"The bill for this deadlock is firstly being paid by the Syrian people, then by neighboring countries like Turkey," he said.

Turkey has spent more than $33 billion from its own national resources to help and shelter some 3.5 million refugees since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, according to UN figures.

After the business meeting, Erdogan officially inaugurated the restored Tomb of Gul Baba in Budapest and paid a visit to the Budapest Turkish Memorial Cemetery.

At the cemetery, Erdogan laid a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier, alongside Hungary's Prime Minister Victor Orban.

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