Erdogan: Turkey does not intend to annex parts of Syrian territory.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Greece to “open doors” for immigrants who crowd the borders of the two countries after Ankara opened their crossings to them, in a public threat to the European Union.
“I appeal to you … open the doors as well and free themselves from this burden … let them (immigrants) go to other European countries,” Erdogan said in a speech from Istanbul, carried by television channels, to Greece.
He also announced that he would visit Belgium on Monday to discuss immigration with European Union officials, after he previously said he would not prevent immigrants from leaving Turkey to go to Europe.
Erdogan added: “I hope we will come up with a different result in Monday’s meeting with European Union officials in Belgium on the asylum seekers crisis.” He also stressed that Turkey had not received the support it expected from the international community with regard to refugees.
He said: “We fulfilled our obligations under the agreement that we concluded with the European Union. The European Union nevertheless did not fulfill its obligations, except for the minimum contributions. I hope to reach different results this time.”
Turkey says that the European Union has not honored its obligations which included allowing its citizens to travel to Europe without visas and strengthening the customs union between the two sides. Ankara also wants more European support in Syria, as its forces support armed factions in the face of the Syrian regime backed by Russia.
Thousands of migrants gathered on the land border with Greece after Turkey announced late last month that it would not prevent them from leaving its territory to go to Europe. Thousands of migrants have been trying to cross the border from Turkey to Greece since the Turkish president announced on February 29 that he will stop respecting the March 2016 agreement with the European Union which stipulates that migrants remain in Turkey in exchange for European financial aid to Ankara. Under this agreement, Turkey agreed to contain the flow of migrants against billions of euros.
In another context, Erdogan stressed that “Turkey never intends to occupy or annex parts of Syrian territory.”
He added: “During the last month, 59 Turkish soldiers were killed in Idlib, and in response, 3,400 of the Syrian regime neutralized us.”
On Saturday, the Turkish government vowed to the Greek government with new waves of immigrants towards the border between them, stressing that what happened so far is only the beginning.
Turkish Interior Minister Suleiman Soilo said that the current influx of thousands of migrants trying to cross into Greece via the Turkish border will increase significantly soon.
Soilo told a news conference in the city of Alazig in eastern Turkey that the number of migrants who entered Greece reached more than 143 thousand people. Soilo added: “This is just the beginning … Watch what will happen after today. What happened to this day is not a little thing.”
Soilo considered that the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis does not have the ability to control the flow of asylum seekers, in response to the latter’s statements in which he said that the agreement concluded by the European Union with Turkey four years ago to curb the flow of migrants is now dead.
“Let’s be honest, the agreement is dead,” Mitsotakis said in an interview with CNN late on Friday, blaming Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his collapse.