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President Erdogan lashes out at the West over its refugee policy

"Those who use the few hundred refugees they have accepted as publicity material bear no responsibility for the deepening humanitarian crisis," he said
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AFP/ BULENT KILIC  -   A group of refugees wait at the Turkey-Greece border near the Pazarkule border crossing in Edirne, Turkey

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stressed that developed nations take in 2.7 refugees for every 1,000, while underdeveloped countries host more than twice that number, and blamed them for using the global refugee problem as publicity material, as part of World Refugee Day.

"High-income countries host an average of 2.7 refugees per 1,000 people, while middle- and low-income countries host 5.8 refugees, according to UN figures. Those who use the few hundred refugees they have accepted as publicity material bear no responsibility for the deepening humanitarian crisis," Erdogan stressed in a video at the Global Parliamentary Conference on Migration, as reported by the Hurriyet media.

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AFP/AAEREF WATAD - Children displaced by war in Syria look out over Idlib city

Erdogan stressed that Turkey took in 3.6 million Syrian refugees fleeing the conflicts in Syria and did not turn away anyone who arrived at the border because of their ethnicity, religion, culture, disposition and sect. "We are the country that has been taking in the most refugees in the world for seven years," the Turkish leader said.

"We have opened our doors to millions of people who have been persecuted in the last 500 years, especially the Jews who fled the Inquisition. Our brothers in the Caucasus and our compatriots in the Balkans have always sought refuge in Turkey as a safe haven when they were in trouble," he said.

Conflict with Greece over the Aegean Sea

Erdogan also criticised Greece for "persecuting, robbing and even murdering" refugees and stressed that Turkey bears the real burden of the problem.

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AFP/ BULENT KILIC - Migrants wait in the buffer zone at the Turkey-Greece border near the Pazarkule border crossing in Edirne

"Almost every day we witness the situation of refugees who were persecuted, robbed, beaten or even killed by Greek security forces. In fact, it is countries like us, neighbours of the crisis areas, that bear the real burden of the migration and refugee issue, not the vocal developed societies," the Turkish president said.

Erdogan emphasised that the whereabouts of tens of thousands of Syrian children "who took refuge in Europe, who were abducted, and what their fate was" are unknown.