Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Wednesday stated that his country will maintain its borders open with the European Union (EU) so that refugees can cross into community territory.
Merkel, Macron, Erdogan to Analyze Migration Crisis on March 17
"We decided not to stop those people who want to go to Europe. We fed and dressed them for nine years. Now they want to go to Europe and we don't stop them. The EU thought I was kidding. Now they see it," Erdogan said.
On Monday, Turkey and the EU agreed to review the immigration agreement through which the Turkish government undertook to keep asylum seekers in its territory in exchange for 6,000 million euros.
Erdogan warned that the Turkish border will remain open until Brussels agrees to include new chapters in the process whereby Turkey is negotiating its accession to the European Union as a member state.
"We will maintain the current conditions at our borders until new chapters such as freedom of movement are opened and customs treaties and financial assistance are updated," he said.
The Turkish president strongly criticized the actions implemented by the Greek government to prevent the entry of people who have fled the war in Syria.
"It is barbaric to open fire on innocent people for no reason. They are exposed to all kinds of inhuman treatment, from tear gas to boiling water," Erdogan said and added that "there is no difference between the images of the Greek border and what the Nazis did."
About 35,000 migrants have massed at Turkey's borders with the EU states Greece and Bulgaria since last week.
Currently, the greatest number of refugees fleeing to the EU originate from Syria, a crude oil-producing country that is going through an inner war in which forces against President Bashar al-Assad have been supported by external powers such as the U.S., the U.K., and France.
As of March 2018, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) accounted for nearly 5.6 million registered Syrian refugees worldwide.