Turkey 'full up' after taking three million refugees
Published 08/02/2016 | 02:30
Turkey has reached its "capacity to absorb" refugees after taking in three million people but will continue to allow them to stream into the country.
Turkish authorities say up to 35,000 Syrians have massed along the border, which remained closed for a third day yesterday. The governor for the Turkish border province of Kilis said Turkey would provide aid to the displaced within Syria, but would open the gates only in the event of an "extraordinary crisis."
Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus admitted the country faced problems after accepting a total of three million refugees, including 2.5 million Syrians.
"Turkey has reached the end of its capacity to absorb (refugees)," Mr Kurtulmus said. "But in the end, these people have nowhere else to go. Either they will die beneath the bombings and Turkey will ... watch the massacre like the rest of the world, or we will open our borders."
Mr Kurtulmus said some 15,000 refugees from Syria were admitted in the past few days. He put the number of refugees being cared for on the other side of the border at 30,000.
"At the moment, we are admitting some, and are trying to keep others there (in Syria) by providing them with every kind of humanitarian support," Mr Kurtulmus added. "We are not in a position to tell them not to come. If we do, we would be abandoning them to their deaths."
On Saturday, the EU urged Turkey to open its borders at a meeting in Amsterdam, saying it was providing aid to Ankara for that purpose. EU nations have committed €3bn to Turkey to help refugees, part of incentives aimed at persuading Turkey to do more to stop thousands of migrants from leaving for Greece.
Mr Kurtulmus estimated that "in the worst case scenario" as many as 1 million more refugees could flee the nearby Syrian city of Aleppo. Attacks on Aleppo by pro-government forces have caused massive displacement of refugees.