Images of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey at a refugee camp for Syrians on the outskirts of Kahramanmaras, in southeastern Turkey. Credit: Mauricio Lima for The New York Times
The Turkish president Erdogan has threatened to “open the gates” for Syrian refugees in his country to migrate to Europe if European countries dare to label Turkey’s military campaign in north-eastern Syria an “occupation”.
Some experts on the topic argued earlier on that “If there is one thing that the West fears more than terrorists, it’s refugees“.
On 18 March 2016, the European Council and Turkey reached an agreement aimed at stopping the flow of irregular migration via Turkey to Europe. According to the EU-Turkey Statement, all new irregular migrants and asylum seekers arriving from Turkey to the Greek islands and whose applications for asylum have been declared inadmissible should be returned to Turkey. In return for Turkish help, the EU pledged 6 billion euros on refugee projects in Turkey. The EU says the money has been delivered, but Ankara disputes this and has asked for more.
During a speech at a meeting of lawmakers from his Justice and Development (AK) party Erdogan said he warns European leaders he will “open the gates and send 3.6 million refugees your way” As he spoke, Turkish warplanes and artillery were used to bombard border towns in north-eastern Syria on Thursday.