Ex-Greek PM hails Turkey for hosting Syrian refugees

By Ugur Subasi and Ibrahim Yozoglu

KOCAELI, Turkey (AA) – Former Greek premier on Friday applauded Turkey for opening its doors to millions of Syrian refugees.

Speaking at an event in Turkey's northwestern Kocaeli province, George Papandreou said by hosting a large number of refugees, Turkey is doing something that no other country does.

Turkey hosts 3.5 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world. The country has spent more than $33 billion from its own national resources for helping and sheltering refugees since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.

Papandreou lamented some comments from Europe that refused to share the burden of refugees.

"We should not forget Turkey at this moment. Turkey is hosting 3.5 million registered refugees," Papandreou said.

Papandreou also appreciates Turkey's efforts in Syria's Idlib.

Following a meeting in Russia's Sochi last month between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, the two countries agreed to establish a demilitarized zone in Idlib.

Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.