The Turkish interior minister marked International Migrants Day on Friday saying that 4 million migrants were saved from persecution and death by fleeing to Turkey.

Suleyman Soylu in a video message said Turkey had stopped oppression on people in an area of 8,161 square kilometers (3,150 square miles) in Syria and normalized the lives of 1.75 million people.

He stressed that Turkey at the Aegean Sea has saved the lives of migrants from different countries.

Soylu said instability, poverty, terror, and violence, all “grown from the seeds of discord that the West has planted”, have dramatically accelerated migration movements in the 21st century.

Soylu also expressed his gratitude to the Turkish nation which has been treating migrants in accordance with the legacy left by humanity and civilization.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also marked the day via Twitter, calling on the international community to combat hate speech against migrants.

“As a country where millions of immigrants live in peace and harmony with our society, we celebrate the day of all migrants in the world,” Cavusoglu said.

Turkey has been a key transit point for asylum seekers who want to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

Earlier this year, Turkey opened its gates to irregular migrants, accusing the EU of failing to keep its promises under a 2016 migrant deal.

Turkey hosts nearly 4 million Syrians, more than any other country in the world.

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