ANKARA: Turkey has spent more than $600 million sheltering refugees from the almost two-year-old conflict in neighbouring Syria, Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek said today.
Of that total, the central government had spent 610.5 million lira ($344 million) from its budget by Feb. 5, Simsek said on his official Twitter account.
Local authorities have provided the rest, he added.
Turkey has been one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s fiercest critics, hosting a NATO Patriot missile defence system to protect against a spillover of violence and leading calls for international intervention to end the conflict.
The United Nations said today that refugee numbers have spiked, with around 5,000 people fleeing each day, 2,000 more a day than last year’s figures.