UPDATES WITH MORE REMARKS FROM ERDOGAN
By Murat Paksoy, Cigdem Munibe Alyanak and Hanife Sevinc
ISTANBUL (AA) - Turkey has deported nearly 9,000 foreign terrorists so far, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the Group of 20 Summit on Sunday.
“Although we were left alone, we have nabbed nearly 9,000 foreign terrorist fighters and sent them back to their countries,” Erdogan said at the virtually organized summit.
“We are the only NATO country fighting Daesh in Syria on the frontline,” Erdogan added.
Turkey does its best to “eliminate the terrorist threat, prevent conflicts and strengthen stability,” in the region, the president added.
The G20 Leaders' Summit kicked off in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh on Saturday.
Saudi Arabia is chairing the two-day summit which is being held virtually in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Refugees during coronavirus
Erdogan said that the pandemic has exacerbated many problems, especially poverty and inequality.
“Especially our African brothers and sisters and Asian and Latin American friends are facing serious difficulties,” he added.
Noting that refugees and forcibly displaced persons are the most vulnerable, Erdogan said: “These people are forced to struggle against the intentionally fueled anti-Islamism and xenophobia, plus economic difficulties.”
“None of us can ignore this dire picture,” he said. “We must keep redirecting humanitarian aid to war-affected areas and populations at risk.”
Erdogan said that Turkey has been hosting the highest number of refugees in the world for the last six years.
“We host more than four million refugees in our country, most of them Syrians,” he said.
Turkey also provides humanitarian aid and protection to millions of needy people in Idlib and many other places within the borders of Syria, he added.
“These numbers are more than the population of most of our major cities,” he said.
Turkey continues its efforts to ensure that “those who take refuge in our country live in harmony with our community and with dignity,” the Turkish president said.
“Moreover, we continue these efforts with determination, even though the promises of support made to us have not been kept so well,” he said.
“We now expect everyone to take responsibility and share a fair burden and responsibility,” he added.
- Libya, Eastern Mediterranean
Erdogan said that the support by the Turkish military to Libyan soldiers “prevented the country from being dragged into further civil war”.
On Saturday, a passing out ceremony was held for Libyan soldiers in Tripoli who completed an eight-week training by the Turkish Armed Forces.
The Turkish president said that Turkey has always been “patient and calm” on the Eastern Mediterranean issue despite “provocations by Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration”.
European leaders will discuss the future of EU-Turkey relations at their summit in December.
Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration are pushing for sanctions against Turkey over maritime disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean, but the majority of EU members have been reluctant so far to take such action.
Erdogan also said that Turkey contributed to the end of the 30-year occupation in Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh.
“We believe that the difficulties we face will ease, as the entire humanity joins hands and hearts,” he said.
On Nov. 10, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a Russia-brokered agreement to end weeks of clashes.
Relations between the former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
The truce is seen as a victory for Azerbaijan, a close ally of Turkey, and a defeat for Armenia.