Turkey will be the top country to send humanitarian aid in 2017, says Turkish Foreign Minister

Turkey said Friday it will surpass the U.S. in terms of supplying humanitarian aid around the world.

The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said currently Turkey is the second-most charitable country in the world, only preceded by the U.S.

He made the remarks at a ceremony marking the beginning of the academic year in Hasan Kalyoncu University in the southeastern Turkish province Gaziantep.

In 2016, Turkey spent $6 billion on humanitarian aid while the U.S. spent $ 6.3 billion, he said.


"But this year we will be the top country to send humanitarian aid," he added.

Turkey is expected to spend more money on humanitarian aid in 2017, despite the fact it is not the richest country in the world, he said.

Speaking about the millions of refugees who have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict and terrorism, he said: “If you don't stop terrorism where it is occurring, it will reach you.”

“You cannot say, ‘it is far from me, will not touch me, it has nothing to do with me’. This is the biggest mistake in the war on terrorism the world is making,” he added.

Speaking about the situation in Syria, Cavusoglu said: “Stability in Syria will not be possible without a political solution.”

He said the world had double standards towards dealing with terrorism, adding that only the fight against Daesh will not bring stability in Syria.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests. Since then, more than 250,000 people have been killed and in excess of 10 million displaced, according to the UN.

According to official statistics, Turkey currently hosts more than 3.4 million Syrians who have fled north since the beginning of the civil war.

Ankara calculates that it has spent at least $30 billion sheltering and providing for these guests.

AA