Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that his country is preparing projects to build housing in Syria for the return of nearly one million refugees to their country.
This came in an interview with CNN International in which he answered journalist Bucky Anderson's questions on several issues, including elections and foreign policy.
"We have prepared projects to build housing in Syria for the return of nearly a million refugees, and we will ensure the return of refugees to their countries," the Turkish president said.
Commenting on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's request for the withdrawal of Turkish soldiers from Syria, Erdogan said, "We are not thinking about that because the terrorist threat continues."
Turkish opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, one of the presidential candidates, has vowed to deport all Syrians from Turkey within two years.
Kılıçdaroğlu noted that Afghan, Syrian and other migrants continue to enter Turkey through the border strip. "I am committed to my promise, I will say goodbye to all our Syrian brothers to their country within two years at most," he said.
He pointed out that he will implement this promise "without practicing any racism and by meeting all the needs of Syrians and ensuring the safety of their lives and property, with funding from the European Union and the contribution of Turkish contractors."
A year ago, President Erdogan revealed that Ankara was preparing a project that would allow the voluntary return of one million Syrians hosted by Turkey to their country "with the support of Turkish and international organizations."
Erdogan said at the time that about 500,2016 Syrians had returned to the safe zones provided by Turkey since launching its operations in Syria in <>.
Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Erdogan as saying, "We are preparing for a new project that allows the voluntary return of one million of our Syrian brothers whom we host in our country," noting that the project "will be implemented with the support of Turkish and international civil organizations."
Politically, the foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey, Iran and Syria agreed a week ago at a four-way meeting in Moscow to task their deputies with preparing a road map for the resumption of relations between Damascus and Ankara, which have been severed since the start of the Syrian crisis in 2011.
A final statement of the quadripartite ministerial meeting in the Russian capital said that the participants in the meeting agreed to "assign deputy foreign ministers to prepare a roadmap for the development of relations between Turkey and Syria, in coordination with the ministries of defense and intelligence of the four countries."