More than 200,000 Syrian refugees are moving toward the borders of Turkey which already hosts millions of refugees, said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday.
"200,000 to 250,000 refugees are moving toward our border. We are trying to stop them, but it is not an easy task. It is difficult, because you are dealing with human lives,” Erdogan said at an event in the capital Ankara.
The president questioned the humanitarian sensitivities of those who oppose foreigners in their cities, at a time when Turkey is hosting 5 million refugees, including 4 million Syrians.
Since the eruption of the bloody civil war in Syria in 2011, Turkey has taken in millions of Syrians who fled their country, making Turkey the world’s top refugee-hosting country.
Ankara has so far spent $40 billion on the refugees, according to official figures.
Pointing at the ongoing protests in France against a proposed pension reform, Erdogan said: “The western cities which have been the so-called symbol of law, order and freedom have suddenly turned into open-air prisons.”
France currently has 42 different pension programs for different sectors, but the government proposed to unify those systems into one pension scheme.
The plan would lift privileges granted to civil servants and gradually increase the retirement age from 62 to 64, a move expected to adversely affect many sectors.