Erdoğan says Syrian safe zone is most peaceful place in country

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday said safe zone established by Turkey along its border in Syria was the most peaceful place in the country, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Ankara launched a military operation on Oct. 9 to clear the Kurdish-led forces from areas south of its border where Erdoğan wishes to create a safe zone to resettle Syrian refugees, millions of whom are currently residing in Turkey. 

"As a result of long efforts and sacrifices, the safe zones we have established in Syria are the most peaceful and livable places in the country today," Anadolu quoted Erdoğan as saying.

Erdoğan earlier last month unveiled plans for major housing projects for returning Syrians in the proposed safe zone, such as building two-storey houses with gardens, and he asked the European Union to help to finance his project.

However, the EU has not kept its word regarding the refugee deal and remains silent about Erdoğan's plans to resettle Syrian refugees in the safe zone, Turkish President said.

In 2016, Turkey agreed to stem the flow of migrants to Europe as part of a deal with the European Union in which the bloc agreed to speed up the disbursement of 3 billion euros it had already allocated to Turkey to cope with the influx of refugees, and provide another 3 billion euros, if Turkey kept its side of the bargain.

"Unfortunately, the only support we receive from the international community is advice. The mentality, which considers a drop of oil more valuable than a drop of blood, sees nothing but its own interest in Syria and around the world," Erdoğan said.