Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday that the humanitarian crisis in Syria could only be solved with a regime change.
Speaking at the European think tank Egmont Institute, during his visit to Brussels on Monday, Erdogan said: “Bringing peace and founding stability in the country is only possible with a controlled transition leading to regime change.”
“Thanks to the protection, aid and service provided by Turkey, 2.2 million Syrian citizens are continuing to live in safety,” he said. “By doing this, we possess more of the European Union values than [some] member states.”
Erdogan’s visit to Brussels comes weeks after the EU pledged at least 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) for Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and other countries last month.
With Turkey having spent $7.5 billion on sheltering refugees since the start of the conflict in Syria, Erdogan said his country had only received $417 million in foreign aid.
Faced with the worst migrant crisis since World War II, the EU has expressed its willingness to help Turkey integrate more migrants on its soil in order to prevent mass inflows of refugees arriving in neighboring Greece.
– ‘PKK ruined the solution process’
While calling on EU member states to take a tougher stance against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, Erdogan also said the terrorist organization led to the collapse of a fragile cease-fire which began early 2013 and was dubbed the “solution process”.
“The PKK ruined the solution process, this is a terrorist organization, and just like any other terrorist organization in the region, our struggle against them is everlasting,” Erdogan said.
Renewed violence in Turkey has come in the wake of July 20 Suruc bombing, which left dozens of people dead. The incident was blamed on Daesh. The subsequent PKK-linked murder of two Turkish police officers at their home sparked a new wave of conflict in the country.