Erdogan calls on Europe to welcome more migrants amid flow of refugees

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Europe to take in more migrants and refugees from Syria and Iraq, saying that Turkey has borne the brunt of the refugee crisis and has been sheltering about 2 million people.

During a visit to Albania on Wednesday, Erdogan said Turkey has spent $5.6 billion on caring for 1.7 million Syrians and 300,000 Iraqis in refugee camps or living in Turkish cities.

Speaking after a meeting with his Albanian counterpart, Bujar Nishani, Erdogan said developed countries should do their duty and offer solutions for the migration and refugee crisis. Hundreds of migrants have died so far this year in sea crossings trying to reach Europe.

The unabated flow of refugees has put additional strain on the Turkish economy, while contributing to social unrest and problems in the provinces near the Syrian border. Ankara is considering revisiting its open-door policy, in which Turkey has kept open its borders to Syrians escaping the civil war, in the face of mounting security challenges across the border as the militant Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL), along with other radical groups, controls some of the border crossings.

The UN’s refugee agency said last month that Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees in the world.

Erdogan is visiting Albania to discuss increasing economic ties with the small Balkan nation, heading a delegation of about 100 businessmen.

Turkey is one of Albania’s main trading partners and investors. Erdogan, who last visited the country six years ago, met with President Nishani and Prime Minister Edi Rama on Wednesday.

During his visit, Erdogan participated in the groundbreaking ceremony of a 20,000-square-meter mosque to be built next to the parliament building in the capital Tirana. The Namazgja Mosque will put an end to praying on the Martyrs of the Nation Boulevard during Muslim religious ceremonies.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman