MP demands Nobel prize for Turkey's Kilis province
Turkey's southeastern Kilis province, where more than 100,000 Syrian refugees live peacefully alongside more than 100,000 Turkish citizens, deserves a Nobel Peace Prize, head of a Turkish parliamentary commission said Wednesday.
Lawmaker Atay Uslu, who chairs the commission on refugee rights in the parliament, slammed Europe's refugee policy.
Uslu said Europe had not kept its word to Turkey for doing its part in helping Syrian refugees.
"Europe has not only failed in its commitments made to Turkey, but also it did not deliver [on promises] over refugees," the parliamentarian told Anadolu Agency.
"Europe substantially abuses rights of refugees. They are seizing valuables of refugees before they enter the country," Uslu, an MP from the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, said.
In March 2016, the EU and Turkey made a deal to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea; a €6 billion ($7.07 billion) aid package was part of the agreement to help Turkey care for millions of refugees hosted in the country.
Turkey now hosts some three million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world. The country has spent nearly $30 billion in helping and sheltering refugees since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011.
The EU promised to initially allocate €3 billion ($3.71 billion) for projects supporting Syrian refugees, but Turkey has so far received only €800 million ($943 million).
Uslu praised Turkey's efforts for Syrians living in Turkey.
He pointed out that more than 100,000 Syrians are living peacefully alongside more than 100,000 Turkish citizens in Kilis province.
"We think the Nobel Peace Prize should be given to Kilis province," Uslu said.
There are some 132,000 Syrians present in Kilis while the city's non-refugee population is about 131,000 -- making the number of registered Syrians higher than the city's regular population.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the conflict, according to the UN.