Turkey spent $25B on 3.5 million refugees, says interior minister

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu says Turkey shelters some 3.5 million people

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, speaking at the Migration Policies Board meeting in Ankara on Wednesday, announced the exact number of Syrian refugees hosted in Turkey as 3,551,078. The minister also drew attention to the $25 billion the country has spent on the refugees. The amount combines government expenditures, Turkish civil society organizations’ expenditures and also the Turkish public’s expenditure, according to the Prime Ministry Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD) data.

Pointing out that Turkey has been implementing an “open door” policy for Syrian citizens since 2011, Soylu said that nearly 10 percent of Syrians in Turkey are hosted in refugee camps, and noted the stark contrast to statements by some European authorities that their territorial border walls will likely be raised against the refugees and that measures would be taken to prevent refugee movement, including the use of thermal cameras and barbed wire. “There is a great crisis in the east of Turkey, and unfortunately there is also a great insensitivity in the West. Turkey is in the middle of this humanitarian plight.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak, speaking at a Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency’s (TİKA) Advisory Board meeting yesterday, told media members that “a logistical depot at the borderline near Elbeyli and Çobanbeyli [southeastern districts] is to be established,” where aid for refugees will be collected. He further noted that “the aid is already being sent by citizens in Turkey, however, we aim to make it reach those in need with an orderly matter [via the logistical depot].” The Turkish official added onto his remarks by informing members of the media that a logistical depot for humanitarian aid to reach those in need is being established, and he expects it to soon to be finalized. “The logistical depot center will include things like dry food storage, cold room storage, ovens and flour storage,” he added.