- On February 28, Erdogan opened the borders with the EU, which caused a powerful influx of refugees to the border with Greece.
- Brussels accused Turkey of using migrants as a means of pressure, and urged Erdogan to continue to adhere to the 2016 refugee agreement.
- Turkey accuses the EU of not fulfilling obligations under the agreement, delivering half the money it was promised.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Tuesday he would meet next week with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and, possibly, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. They will meet on March 17 to discuss the refugee problem, Erdogan told the Turkish state news agency Anadolu on his return to Turkey from Brussels.
There he discussed the refugee situation on the Greek-Turkish border with EU and NATO leaders. The German federal government has not yet confirmed the date of the meeting.
On February 28, Erdogan opened the borders with the EU, which caused a powerful influx of refugees to the border with Greece. Athens sent additional police forces to the border zone, which used tear gas and water cannons against migrants to prevent illegal border crossings.
EU and Turkey Blame Each Other
Brussels accused Turkey of using migrants as a means of pressure, and urged Erdogan to continue to adhere to the 2016 refugee agreement. Under this agreement, Turkey received financial support in exchange for promising to restrain the influx of refugees into Europe. For its part, Turkey accuses the EU of not fulfilling obligations under the agreement. In particular, Ankara claims to have received only half of the planned €6 billion.
Erdogan, during his meetings in Brussels, spoke about the actualization of the migration deal with the EU. According to him, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell are preparing proposals for the next summit of EU leaders on March 26.
Greece to Open Border for Migrants
If Greece opens the border, migrants will not stay in the country, but will go to other EU states, said the Turkish president. Athens is also afraid of the flow of illegal immigrants. Erdogan called on the Greek authorities to let migrants gathered on the border of the two countries in to Greece. They will not stay in Greece but will go to other European countries, Erdogan said Sunday in Istanbul.
Erdogan expressed bewilderment at the concern of the Greek authorities. “Open the gate, that’s all,” he said. At the same time, the Turkish president demanded the Coast Guard stop attempts by refugees and migrants to cross the Aegean Sea to reach the Greek islands, and thus enter the EU, a day earlier.
In addition, Ankara accused the Greek security forces of illegally expelling migrants who managed to enter the Republic. Athens, however, is claiming to take measures to protect the external borders of the European Union from the flow of illegal immigrants. According to the UN, Turkey has accepted about 3.6 million refugees from Syria.