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Erdogan vows to keep border open for migrants

March 11, 2020

Greece has seen an influx of migrants and refugees since Ankara opened its borders nearly two weeks earlier. The Turkish president has compared Greece's treatment of migrants to the Nazi regime.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Image: AFP/J. Thys

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed Wednesday to keep Turkey's border open for migrants and refugees trying to get to Europe until the EU delivered on each of Ankara's demands over a 2016 migration deal with the bloc.

"Until all Turkey's expectations, including free movement, ... updating of the customs union and financial assistance are tangibly met, we will continue the practice on our borders," he said in a televised speech to lawmakers from his AK Party in parliament.

Erdogan said Turkey would lodge its demands to the bloc prior to the next EU summit in Brussels on March 26.

Read more: Opinion: Europe has lost its soul at the border

Nazi comparison

The Turkish president also said Greece's treatment of migrants and refugees at their border was akin to that of the Nazi regime.

"There is no difference between what the Nazis did and those images from the Greek border," he said, followed by images of migrants being tear-gassed as they attempted to force their way across the border.

Read more: Putin and Erdogan seek to avoid direct confrontation in Syria

EU-Turkey relations

On Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told state-run Anadolu news agency the European Union should stop "stringing Turkey along" over assisting with the millions of migrants on its territory. His message came the day after the two parties agreed to review the 2016 accord aimed at halting the flow of refugees into the EU. 

Cavusoglu said the EU should take "sincere" steps to help Turkey with the situation, such as finding ways to ensure Syrian refugees can return home.

jsi/stb (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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