Turkey has spent $9 bn on refugees: Erdogan

The Turkish government says more than 2.7 million Syrian refugees live in the country after fleeing the six-year conflict which has killed over 310,000 people (AFP Photo/BULENT KILIC) (AFP)

Santiago (AFP) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday his country has spent more than $9 billion on services for 2.5 million refugees from conflict-torn Syria and Iraq.

"Turkey has opened its doors without distinction to more than 2.5 million Syrian and Iraqi refugees. So far, the amount we have spent surpasses $9 billion," he said during a visit to Chile.

Turkey has seen a massive influx of migrants as violence rages in neighboring Syria and Iraq.

"All these refugee dramas we see on television, these dead people's bodies, are the symbols of this conflict," Erdogan told a press conference after meeting Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, who praised Turkey's role in dealing with the humanitarian crisis.

Erdogan, who arrived in Santiago Sunday, is on a three-country South American tour focused on expanding Turkey's ties outside its traditional sphere of influence.

The European Union is pressing Turkey to implement tighter border controls to stop migrants crossing the country and streaming into the EU.

Turkey has more refugees than any other country in the world, including more than 2.5 million from the almost five-year-old war in Syria, according to the United Nations refugee agency.