Ankara was forced into launching operations in northeastern Syria in October in response to a lack of support from the international community to help Turkey host millions of refugees in its territory, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the Global Forum on Refugees in Geneva on Tuesday.
“Nobody seems inclined to help us. When we haven’t received the support we needed from the international community, we had to take care of our own self,” Agence-France Presse quoted Erdogan as saying.
Erdogan called for the resettlement of a million of some 3.7 million Syrian refugees being hosted by Turkey in a “peace zone” in the northern part of their homeland, on a voluntary basis but in “a very short period of time.”
“We need to find a formula to allow refugees… who traveled to Turkey to be resettled in their motherland,” he was quoted by Reuters as saying.
Housing and schools could be set up in the zone, where some 371,000 Syrian refugees have already returned since Turkish military operations to clear the area of “terrorist organizations,” Erdogan said, naming Islamic State and the Kurdish YPG and PKK, according to Reuters. [Combined reports]