Expert at Davos shocked by Turkish refugee figure

A well-known U.S. columnist who often writes about the Middle East did a double take at Davos when a Turkish deputy prime minister told him how many refugees the country was hosting, secular newspaper Hürriyet said.

Mehmet Şimşek said his country was now home to 3.5 million Syrian refugees and 3.7 million refugees in total on a panel entitled “The New Balance in the Middle East”.

“Did you say 3.5 million?” panel moderator and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman asked.

“Is it not strange that Friedman, who knows the Middle East well and has written about the region for years, does not know this number?” Hürriyet asked.

“This means that we are not sufficiently getting the message out to the world about how many people we are hosting and what we are doing on the refugee issue.”