Greece’s new conservative Prime Minister has warned Turkey’s Erdogan against threatening Europe with a new wave of migrants after the Turkish Prime Minister threatened last week to “open the gates” and let millions of migrants flood into Europe.
Erdogan’s words were spoken amid rising tensions between Turkey and the United States over delays in the creation of a safe zone in Syria.
“Our goal is for at least one million of our Syrian brothers to return to the safe zone we will form along our 450 km border,” Erdogan said during a speech in Ankara last Thursday. The Turkish Prime Minister called on European government to provide ‘logistical support and we can go build housing at 30 km (20 miles) depth in northern Syria’.
Erdogan then warned, “This either happens or otherwise we will have to open the gates.”
Turkey alleges that it has spent $35 billion on hosting about four million Syrian refugees under its current deal with the EU.
In response to the statement, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Sunday, “Turkey should not put pressure on either Greece or Europe while trying to get support for its plan to resettle refugees arriving from northern Syria.”
“Mr. Erdogan must understand that he cannot threaten Greece and Europe in an attempt to secure more resources to handle the refugee (issue),” Mitsotakis told journalists at news conference in the Greek city of Thessaloniki.
Erdogan’s threats are not the first time prominent members of the current Turkish administration have threatened to flood Europe with migrants.
Last month, the Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said, “We are facing the biggest wave of migration in history. If we open the floodgates, no European government will be able to survive for more than six months. We advise them not to try our patience.”
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