The cost of sheltering more than 300,000 Syrians in Turkey reached well over $700 million, the country's foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, has said.
"Turkey has been the most affected country from the crisis in Syria and Asad's massacres on its own people. The number of refugees in camps [in Turkey] has exceeded 200,000 and there are 100,000 others outside the camps. The aid we have made to the refugees has surpassed $700,000 million. And I am saying this just to underline the indifference of the international community. Otherwise, Turkey is always ready to make any sacrifice for Syria," Davutoglu told a joint press conference Wednesday with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.
The Russian top diplomat was visiting Istanbul for talks at a 'strategic planning group' of the High Level Cooperation Council between the two countries.
Davutoglu said the Syria crisis posed "an extraordinary security risk" to Turkey, citing several instances of cross-border military aggression by forces loyal to the President Bashar al-Asad and possible chaotic situation the country might crumble into following a long-awaited fall of the regime in Damascus.
Turkey has been a fierce critic of the Assad regime since a popular uprising in March 2011 had quickly spiralled into what the UN said a civil war that killed more than 70,000 people and forced 1 million Syrians to flee their country.
Davutoglu said the international community was obliged to "end the bloodshed in Syria at once and lead the way for the conditions where will of the Syrian people would materialize."
"Syria belongs to the Syrian people. It neither belongs to other countries nor it a personal possession of Bashar al-Assad. Syrian people must ne given means to decide on their own fate. Turkey is always ready to actively be a part of a step to be taken in that direction," Davutoglu said.
A UN refugee agency representative in Turkey has recently warned that the number of Syrians in Turkey might reach 1 million by the end of the year.
"With all our sincerity, we are trying to reach a common ground in order to shape a common attitude. We will continue our consultations with Russia and all other relevant sides to that end," Davutoglu said.