Countries neighboring crisis regions shoulder the real burden of migration and refugees, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Monday, calling out countries that host a "few hundred refugees" and use them for "advertising" but do not take any responsibility in face of the deepening humanitarian crisis.
In a video message for the Global Parliamentary Conference on migration, which was co-hosted by the Turkish Parliament and the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Erdoğan said, "In fact, countries like us, which are neighbors to the crisis areas, bear the real burden on the issue of migration and refugees, not developed societies that have a loud voice."
Expressing that he was very happy to host the parliamentarians in Istanbul, the crossroads of civilizations and continents, the president said: "The Inter-Parliamentary Union serves as an important platform for dialogue for parliamentarians with different political systems and ideas. The union, which allows the parliamentarians, who are the representatives of our peoples, to share their views and experiences with each other, also contributes to the development of solutions to global problems."
Erdoğan stated that he believes this conference will fill an important need and added that with the coronavirus pandemic that marked the last 2.5 years, he saw that hate speech reached frightening dimensions on a global scale.
Stating that they observed that economic difficulties fueled xenophobia and hostility to refugees all over the world, especially in Western countries, Erdoğan said: "Simultaneously, with the economic crisis triggered by the pandemic, more and more people are forced to leave their lands and homes. Currently, the number of migrants worldwide has reached 275 million, the number of displaced persons are approaching 85 million, and the number of refugees are approaching 30 million. With the ongoing conflicts between Russia and Ukraine, 5 million more people have been added to the current number of refugees. In this human mobility, unfortunately, we come across many scenes that are painful to witness. Journeys embarked on with the hope of establishing a safe future by escaping from oppression, persecution and hunger sometimes end in disaster."
Pointing out that nearly 30,000 migrants, mostly women and children, lost their lives in the Mediterranean in recent times, Erdoğan noted the whereabouts of tens of thousands of Syrian children who took refuge in Europe and were abducted is not known.