Erdogan to EU: “We’re not idiots”, threatens to send refugees
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out against the EU on Thursday (11 February) and threatened to send millions of refugees in Turkey to the bloc’s member states, just as NATO agreed to deploy ships in the Aegean Sea to ease the migrant crisis.
In a speech in Ankara Erdogan confirmed an earlier leaked report in which he made clear to EU leaders late last year that he could open the gates for the estimated 2.7 million refugees to enter Europe.
Under the EU-Turkey deal last November, Ankara pledged to slow the influx of migrants, crack down on people smugglers in exchange for €3 billion aid for refugees stuck in Turkey, a faster visa liberalisation process and opening chapters in its EU membership negotiations.
The EU Commission in a report released on Wednesday, while acknowledging that some progress had been made, urged Turkey to do more to stop the flow of migrants, patrol its sea and clamp down on smugglers.
On the other hand, Turkey is also under pressure from Europe and the UN to open up its borders to the tens of thousands stranded at the Turkish-Syrian border after fleeing the Russian-backed push by the Syrian regime into the city of Aleppo.
Turkey has spent more than €8 billion on refugees since the civil war started in Syria five years ago.
Erdogan’s fiery comments came as Nato decided to deploy ships immediately to the Aegean sea, under German command, to help with surveillance and patrolling Turkey’s shores.
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"Il devient absolument urgent de mettre un terme à cette injustice. Il y a un manque de connaissances et de recherches. Il faut donc promouvoir le recueil de témoignages, mais aussi construire des mémoriaux, organiser des expositions..." - @BenjaminAbtan