Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged on Sunday that he will not allow Syrian refugees to be expelled from the country as long as he is president.
"There is no racism in our religion. Unfortunately, the opposition parties have recently taken a position against the Syrians, and they say when we come to power, we will send these Syrians to their country," Erdogan said, adding: "We are now hosting nearly four million Syrians in our country, and with those coming from Iraq, the total number is five million, and we will continue to host them."
"They are all our guests and did not leave their countries on their own. They have left their country because they did not find a chance to live in it, and of course we opened our doors to them and continue to host them," he said.
About 3.7 million Syrian refugees live in Turkey.
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said as many as 462,000 Syrians have voluntarily returned to liberated areas in northern Syria. Turkey is encouraging the voluntary return of Syrians to their areas in north-western Syria, he said.