Turkey will never force the Syrian people to return to their homeland, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.
“Syrians can return to their homeland whenever they want, but we will never force them out of this land,” Erdogan said at an event marking the 32nd anniversary of the Turkish Independent Entrepreneurs Association (MUSIAD).
The president stressed that Turkey will continue to host Syrians and will not leave them in “the hands of the killers.”
Syria has been in civil war since early 2011 when the regime cracked down on mass pro-democracy protests.
According to official UN figures, more than 350,000 people died during the conflict but human rights groups estimate the death toll to be between 500,000-600,000.
More than 14 million people have had to leave their homes, become refugees to other countries or internally displaced, according to a European Union (EU) report.
Turkey is the largest host country for Syrian refugees and provides shelter to nearly 4 million people who fled their country.
Turkey’s annual exports reach USD240 billion as of April
Regarding trade, Erdoan said the appetite of foreign and domestic businessmen for investment in Turkey continues to increase.
“Our industrial production and export volumes continue to break new records every month. We closed 2021 with an export volume of USD225 billion and set a big goal for 2022. In April, our 12-month export volume exceeded USD240 billion. While the ratio of imports excluding energy has exceeded 100 percent,” he said.
Turkey is confident that it will achieve its year-end export target of $250 billion, President Erdoan stressed.