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How long can Turkey afford growing refugee bill?

The monthly bill of hosting the Syrian refugees in Turkey has shot up to $500 million, in a further strain on the country’s already struggling economy.
Syrian refugees shop at a market at Harran refugee camp in the Sanliurfa province, Turkey April 26, 2016. REUTERS/Umit Bektas                              - RTX2BPLG
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To turn a blind eye to the ordeal of the Syrian refugees and leave them to their fate is impossible. For Turkey, therefore, the financial burden of hosting the Syrian refugees is growing by the day, along with the refugee numbers, as the country now holds the title of the top refugee host. As Turkey's tourism and export revenues are falling, the money the country spends on the refugees keeps going up, raising questions on how long this situation can continue.

Turkey’s monthly spending on refugees has reached $500 million, a figure not limited to exceptional periods but apparently now the norm. In the eight months from July 2015 to February, the average monthly spending on refugees stands at $500 million, according to figures compiled from public statements by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the head of the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).

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