German president visits Syrian refugee camp in Turkey

West should ponder about what it can do to help Syrians, Gauck says

West should ponder about what it can do to help Syrians, Gauck says

KAHRAMANMARAS - German President Joachim Gauck visited on Sunday a refugee camp that hosts more than 15,000 Syrian civilians in the southeastern Turkish province of Kahramanmaras.

"We are not doing anything to end the war in Syria, but we should be pondering more about what we can do to help these people," he said.

Gauck also commended Turkey's efforts to provide shelter and humanitarian aid for Syrians.

"I was watching Turkey's efforts with respect, but here I have witnessed that its efforts to help these people are really, really big," he said.

More than 200,000 Syrians take shelter in Turkey's refugee camps. A total of 432,769 Syrian citizens have entered the refugee centers so far, and 222,411 of those have returned to Syria, according to a report by the Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies.

Except for the limited contribution from international aid, the main financial burden of running the camps rests on the shoulders of Turkey alone.

After visiting the camp, the president met with the German soldiers serving at a compound that hosts Patriot missile batteries.

The Patriot batteries have been stationed in Kahramanmaras since January 2013 under NATO command and control. The cost of the deployment, estimated to be around 25 million euros, was covered by Germany.

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