ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday threatened European Union countries with a flood of Middle Eastern refugees and migrants after Brussels backed calls for a freeze of accession talks with Ankara.
“You have never treated humanity well. When baby [Alan] hit the shore, you did not take him in. We are the ones feeding three million refugees in this country,” said Erdogan about the EU officials at a conference in Istanbul.
“You did not keep your promises. Look at me, if you go further we will open border gates,” he continued.
Alan Kurdi, whose death Erdogan held European leaders responsible, was a refugee toddler from the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani whose lifeless body’s image on a Mediterranean Sea beach in western Turkey hit global headlines in September 2015.
Erdogan also slammed members of the European Parliament for urging a suspension of Turkey’s accession talks in a Thursday vote.
Turkey and the EU signed a deal in March 2016 according to which the former would receive any asylum seeker who landed illegally in Greece in exchange for more than three billion US dollars as aid to refugees.
The same agreement stipulated the EU would accept the resettlement of a Syrian refugee for every Syrian being returned to Turkey from the Greek islands, according to a factsheet on the European Commission’s website.
The relations between the two sides had dramatically worsened since the failed July 15 coup attempt that led to the Turkish Government’s purging and imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of people, including Kurdish journalists and politicians.
On Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel tried to cool down the tensions with Erdogan’s Turkey stating the migrant deal was for both sides.
Moreover, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Sawsan Chebli said it was “important” negotiations with Ankara continued, reported Reuters.
The Turkish President previously hinted his government could scrap the deal with the EU in a Nov. 10 interview with the Qatar-based Al Jazeera.
Galip Ozturk, the owner of one of Turkey’s largest bus operating travel agencies Metro Turizm, said he was ready to move thousands of refugees with his buses to the Greek and Bulgarian border, once “the Chief ordered,” referring to Erdogan.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany