Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticized the international community for keeping mum while thousands of people died in Syria.
Addressing the 12th session of the Conference of the Parties of UN Convention to Combat Desertification in the capital , Erdogan said: "Unfortunately, the international community failed, when crimes against humanity and nature were committed in many parts of the world."
Erdogan said that the world just sat back and watched the killings of 366,000 civilians in Syria.
"Where is democracy, where is rights and freedoms? Does democracy exist only for sovereign powers? Is not democracy valid for least developed and developing countries," the Turkish president asked.
He reiterated the facts that there were nearly 2.5 million refugees in Turkey on whom $8 billion had been spent so far while support from other countries only amounted to $417 million.
"It is not possible to prevent land degradation in a world where conscience has deserted," Erdogan said.
The president also said that desertification threatened around 1.2 billion people in more than 110 countries, affecting 4 billion hectares worldwide.
He said that Turkey’s environmental policy was at par with world standards.
Erdogan also said that Turkey had taken serious steps to deal with the issue of desertification. "Turkey is a world leader in tackling erosion and is an exceptional country that has increased its forest area," he said.
He added that the Turkish government had planted and rehabilitated around 4 million hectares of land in 12 years; 3.2 billion saplings were planted in the country since 2002.
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