Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that his country has so far spent nearly $6 billion on 2 million Syrians and Iraqis who have fled the conflicts in their countries, adding it is time developed nations do their “duty” and take in more refugees “but there are few signs European Union countries are ready to do so”.
Last week, Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who has often clashed in the past with Erdoğan on a host of issues, agreed with the complaints of the Turkish president and other Mideast neighbors of Syria and Iraq, who are all laboring to cope with the huge refugee pressure the wars have brought.
Germany is one of the few EU countries to have taken in large numbers of Syrian refugees – 130,000 so far – and during a tour of the region he acknowledged in speeches in Jordan and Lebanon that the EU is falling far short of what needs to be done, calling for burden-sharing when it comes to the refugees.
At least four million Syrians have fled their war-torn country, now in its fifth year of widespread conflict, with Turkey and Lebanon hosting just under two million each and Jordan sheltering more than half-a-million. Some refugees organizations suspect the numbers could be higher.
But even when it comes to the burden-sharing of refugees – African as well as those from the Middle East – washing up on the shores of Europe’s southern states after perilous journeys on board the boats of people smugglers there is little agreement between EU countries about what should be done.
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