“Greece! I call on you. Open your doors too and free yourself from that burden,” said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a speech in Istanbul.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Greece on Sunday to “open its doors” to the thousands of migrants waiting on Turkish territory to enter the European Union (EU).
“Greece! I’m calling on you. Open your doors too and free yourself from that burden”, said Erdogan in a televised speech in Istanbul.
“Hey Greece, these people will not stay with you, they will stay in another country in Europe, after passing through you. Why do you bother?” he urged.
“Hey Greece, I’m calling you, open your doors too and let them go to other European countries. There are 1.5 million refugees on our doorstep,” Erdogan said in a televised speech.
Ergodan’s statement comes after Greece accused Turkey of breaking down the border fence to facilitate the passage of migrants and refugees.
The Greek government released a video on Sunday showing what appears to be a Turkish military vehicle anchoring a cable to the Greek border fence and then towing it down. The video was recorded on Friday night.
The incident is expected to increase tension between the two countries, after the Turkish authorities announced the opening of the border to facilitate the passage of migrants and refugees to Europe.
With tensions escalating in the Syrian province of Idlib, which borders Turkey, Ankara opened its borders to the EU last week for refugees, saying it could no longer contain the flow of migrants from Syria.
The EU rejected the measure, calling it “migratory pressure for political purposes”, and called on Turkey to return to the migration agreement signed in 2016.
This pact provides for the granting of financial assistance to Turkey for the reception of refugees, the return to Turkey of all migrants who entered Greece illegally from Turkish territory and the reception in the EU of Syrian legal migrants from Turkey.
Erdogan announced that he would meet with European Union representatives tomorrow (Monday) to discuss migration, reiterating his call for more aid to deal with the millions of refugees Turkey is hosting from Syria.
The Turkish President will travel tomorrow to Brussels where he will meet from 17.00 GMT with the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
“We hoped to get much more support from the international community as far as refugees are concerned. Tomorrow I will meet members of the European Union in Belgium. We will discuss these issues,” Erdogan said in a speech in Istanbul.
Turkey is hosting some 3.6 million refugees from its southern neighbour, Syria, which has been in a civil war since 2011.
More than one million migrants, mostly from the Middle East and Asia, arrived in the European Union in 2015 and 2016 via Turkey and Greece, until an agreement between Brussels and Ankara stopped the flow in March 2016.