President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned Turkey could open its border for refugees to stream into Europe after EU MEPs voted for a temporary halt to membership talks.

Speaking at a congress on women’ justice in Istanbul, the president warned:

 “If you go any further, these border gates will be opened. Neither me nor my people will be affected by these dry threats. It wouldn’t matter if all of you approved the vote”.

The threat came a day after the European Parliament angered Ankara by backing a freeze in EU accession talks, already hit by alarm over its crackdown following the July 15 failed coup.

“Listen to me. If you go any further, then the frontiers will be opened, bear that in mind,”

-Erdogan told the EU during a speech in Istanbul.

He said Brussels had cried out for help in 2015 as tens of thousands of migrants massed at Turkey’s border crossing with EU member state Bulgaria.

“You began to ask us ‘What will we do if Turkey opens its borders’?”

-he asked.

Germany said “threats” were “not helpful” on the EU-Turkey migrant deal.

“We see the EU-Turkey agreement… as a success for both sides. And the continuation of this agreement is in the interest of all parties,”

-Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman, Ulrike Demmer, said.

“The EU stands by its commitments under the agreement and is meeting its commitments. Threats on either side are not helpful now,”

-she added.

“Where there are difficulties, we need to resolve them.”

On March 18, Ankara and Brussels forged a deal for Turkey to halt the flow of migrants to Europe, an accord that has reduced numbers crossing the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece. Merkel was a driving force behind the deal, which helped slow the influx of refugees and migrants into the EU and its biggest economy, Germany. The German chancellor saw a bruising backlash amid the mass influx, which saw almost 900,000 asylum seekers arrive in Germany in 2015, sparking a rise in racist hate crimes and boosting a rightwing populist party. But Merkel’s approval ratings have since recovered as arrivals have slowed, boosting the chancellor as she heads into an election campaign seeking a fourth term in the September or October 2017 vote.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like