Malatya, Oct 26 () - Turkey’s main opposition party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said Turkey should not be Europe’s “concentration camp” referring to recent meetings with the EU over the keeping of Syrian refugees in the country.
“Turkey should not become Europe’s concentration camp. We cannot accept that. Let aside 3 billion euros, even if the European countries offer to give 13 billion euros, Turkey should not accept becoming the ‘concentration camp’ of Europe,” said Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu speaking to Hürriyet daily on a plane heading from Istanbul to the eastern province of Malatya.
“The European countries are telling Turkey that ‘we will give you the money, you will keep the Syrians.’ This is not acceptable or ethical” said Kılıçdaroğlu.
CHP leader was referring to the EU’s recent offer to give Turkey three billion euros ($3.3 billion) a year and eased visa travel for Turks in return for cooperation in stemming the flow of migrants.
Recalling that more than 2 million Syrians have taken shelter in Turkey fleeing civil war, Kılıçdaroğlu said the CHP will make efforts to bring peace in Syria.
“Syrians in Turkey will themselves return to their countries when peace will come,” he added.
The CHP leader also criticized the government for its foreign policy and vowed to end the “flow of arms from Turkey to Syria,” if his party comes to power after the Nov. 1 snap elections in Turkey.
“If we come to the power, our first job will be halting the transportation of arms from Turkey to Syria. We will cut the links of radical organizations in [Syria] with our country. Then we will work for peace,” Kılıçdaroğlu added.
He also said he had written a letter to then-prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Aug. 24, 2012, over the Syria issue.
“I advised him to take steps for peace in Syria under the umbrella of the U.S., Russia, the EU, Iran, the Arab League and Turkey. They did not take this advice into consideration. But when the Russia made the same call recently, they went to Geneva immediately,” he added.
On Oct. 19, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu also said Turkey is “not a concentration camp” and will not host migrants permanently to appease the European Union, which wants Turkey to stop the flow of people to Europe.
Meanwhile, hours after the EU announced the reaching of a refugee cooperation deal with Turkey with great fanfare last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other officials swiftly dampened expectations.
Erdoğan urged Brussels to take Ankara’s 10-year bid for EU membership more seriously while Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioğlu heaped scorn on the EU’s proposals for financial help.