Turkey to continue 'taking care of Syrian refugees'

Turkey to continue 'taking care of Syrian refugees'

Two days before World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, presidential spokesman stresses Turkey's commitment to Syrian refugees

ISTANBUL (AA) – Turkey will continue its open-door policy to Syrian refugees despite currently hosting more Syrians than any other country in the world, according to the country’s presidential spokesperson.

Speaking to reporters in Istanbul on Friday, two days before the city begins hosting the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit, spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said: "A majority of the burden has been shouldered by Turkey."

"There are some financial and political challenges but in spite of these challenges when it comes to Syrian refugees, Turkey has an open-door policy," he said.

"Whatever financial contributions, we will continue to take care of refugees in our country," Kalin said, referring to aid pledged by the EU to meet the needs of Syrian refugees hosted inside Turkey.

During the World Humanitarian Summit on Monday and Tuesday, attended by 125 of the UN’s 193 member states, at least 50 heads of government will announce several commitments to reduce humanitarian disasters.

These include: preventing and ending conflict; respecting the rules of war; addressing forced displacement; achieving gender equality; responding to climate change; ending the need for aid; and investing in humanity.

In 2014, the UN reported that around $540 million of the roughly $135 billion global aid budget was spent on decreasing disaster risk.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to push for an increase in world spending on reducing disaster risk at the summit in Turkey, which is one of the world’s most generous aid donors.

Turkey ranked third in the list of countries with the most international humanitarian work in 2012 and 2013, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency, TIKA, says in its Turkish Development Assistance 2013 report – the latest such figures from the agency.

According to another 2013 global humanitarian assistance report, the top five donors were the U.S. with $3.8 billion, followed by EU institutions ($1.9 billion), the U.K. ($1.2 billion), Turkey ($1.0 billion), and Sweden with $784 million.

Hosting some 3 million Syrian refugees, Turkey has spent nearly $10 billion on caring for them since the beginning of the Syrian crisis.

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