'Children should not pay the price for adults’ callousness', Turkish president says
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday called for an end to the killings of children in conflict zones across the world.
"Hundreds and thousands of children were killed by chemical weapons in Syria. ... We do not want such deaths to happen anymore," Erdogan said at a children's event in capital Ankara.
Dozens of children from all over the world gathered at the presidential palace on Thursday to participate at an event organized by state-broadcaster TRT on the occasion of April 23 Children's Day.
Erdogan said children should not "pay the price for wars started by adults".
"Small bodies should not pay for the adults' callousness", he said.
Earlier this month, over 80 people including dozens of children were killed in a chemical attack in the northern Syrian city of Idlib.
Erdogan recalled Turkey's "serious" efforts both at home and abroad in order to help provide medical and educational aid to children through the help of public and private organizations.
"We have opened our borders and hearts to some three million refugees from Syria, and Iraq, who are mostly children. There is no other example in the world.
"We are taking care of all of their needs including education and health. So far, we have spent $25 billion for this purpose," he said.
The president criticized the international community for not providing "significant" support to Turkey in this regard.
"Unfortunately, we have received only $725 million from the European Union, and $550 million from the UN Refugee Agency," he said, adding that Turkey would continue to help out refugees "with or without outside help".
The president called on the children to help create a better world.
"We need your support. You need to demand from all adults, including your parents and teachers to be much more sensitive to the problems facing children."
He also asked children to be more responsive to their peers across the world.
"When you grow up, please remember the difficulties facing children in other parts of the world such as wars, hunger, drought, maltreatment and child labor."