Skip to main content

Turkish envoy calls for more international support for Syria refugees, cease-fire deal

Turkish Ambassador Serdar Kilic said Ankara is not receiving enough support from the international community as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Brussels for meetings with the European Council and NATO.
Turkish Ambassador to the United States Serdar Kilic speak to the Conference on U.S.-Turkey Relations in Washington, U.S., May 22, 2017.   REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RC11C9AEE7A0

WASHINGTON — Turkey needs the international community to step up diplomatic, economic and material support as it hosts over 3 million Syrian refugees and after it lost 59 Turkish troops in Syrian regime attacks before a cease-fire deal was hammered out with Russia last week, Turkey’s envoy to the United States said today.

“Unfortunately, Turkey is the only force between the regime elements and the innocent civilians … and we have sacrificed 59 soldiers in order to defend the local population in that area,” Turkish Ambassador Serdar Kilic told journalists at the embassy in Washington today.

“Are we receiving enough support from the international community? … No, we are not receiving enough support. Not material, not political, not diplomatic, not humanitarian,” Kilic continued. “At this stage, we need action, more than words.”

Kilic spoke as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Brussels for meetings with the European Council president and NATO.

Some European officials have described Turkey’s recent decision to let refugees mass at the border and try to cross into Greece and the European Union as a barely disguised blackmail effort to get more money from the 27-member bloc.

But the Turkish envoy rejected the characterization, noting that Turkey is hosting more Syrian refugees than any country in the world — more than 3.5 million Syrians, as well as providing humanitarian assistance to millions of Syrians inside Syria in areas close to its border.

"We have spent $40 billion in order to take care of the requirements of those people, and the international community is losing sight of the fact that we are not only taking care of 4 million refugees in Turkey, including 3.7 million Syrians,” Kilic said. “We are also taking care of additional around 4 million to 5 million Syrians within Syria … as well.”

Kilic said the European Union has only delivered about half of 6 billion euros (nearly $6.9 billion) it pledged to help Turkey support its refugee population in a 2016 Turkey-EU migration deal.

“I mean, if someone is asking us to live up to our commitments, they should also look into the mirror and assume their responsibilities in that regard as well,” Kilic said.

European Council President Charles Michel acknowledged ongoing differences on the migration issue ahead of meeting Erdogan in Brussels tonight.

“We have different opinions on different things,” Michel told journalists in Brussels. “And that is why it is important to have a frank and open dialogue in order as soon as possible to overcome the different problems.”

“For us it is important to implement the deal between Turkey and European Union on migration,” Michel said.

Kilic also said that if the latest Turkish-Russia cease-fire deal for Idlib, which went into effect March 6, breaks down, Erdogan has vowed to escalate against the Syrian regime.

“If there are attacks on the Turkish forces and the civilians, … President Erdgoan has stated very clearly that we are going to reciprocate, as we have done so far,” Kilic said. “And you have seen the casualties that we have inflicted on the … regime … and I'm sure that they have a clear idea as to what is going to happen if they do not abide by the cease-fire.”

Separately, the State Department announced today that US Syria envoy James Jeffrey would travel to Brussels on Tuesday to meet with NATO allies on the Idlib crisis and how to support Turkey’s security concerns. Jeffrey “will also hold meetings with senior EU officials to discuss and seek assistance for the dire humanitarian situation in Syria, particularly in Idlib,” the State Department said.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Free

The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.

Free

What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing
Expert

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to pro.support@al-monitor.com and we'll onboard your team.

What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial