Turkey is aiming to form safe zones in northern Syria so that around 4 million Syrian refugees hosted by Turkey can return, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Monday, Reuters reported
Speaking in İstanbul, Erdoğan also said nearly 300,000 Syrians had already returned and that he expected millions of Syrian nationals would return to the safe areas.
US President Donald Trump announced in December the withdrawal of all US troops from Syria, and Erdoğan subsequently said they had discussed setting up a 20-mile-deep safe zone in Syria along the border.
Erdoğan also said that according to UN data, Turkey has spent $35 billion for refugees in the country.
According to an IPSOS survey from 2017, 83 percent of Turkish society thinks there are “too many” immigrants, while only 9 percent see immigration as a “positive” contribution to the country.
Some 78 percent think newcomers from Syria make it difficult for Turkish citizens to find jobs.
A more recent study from the Piar polling company also indicates that Syrian refugees are Turkey’s third biggest problem after economic deterioration and unemployment.