The Turkish government has announced that for the next 72 hours it will open its border with Syria and allow any and all migrants to go to Europe unhindered.
A senior official has claimed that the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has opened the borders for Syrian asylum seekers and other migrants and will not prevent anyone from heading to Europe by land or by sea, Reuters reports.
According to the news service, all Turkish border and police officials have been ordered by the government to stand down along with members of the Turkish coastguard.
The move comes after the Turkish government claims to expect a wave of migrants after around one million people were displaced in Idlib.
According to Turkish journalist Ragip Soylu, “Land and sea crossings to Europe would be free to pass for the NEXT 72 HOURS and Turkey will open the borders immediately.”
Following the signing of the migrant agreement, brokered in 2015 and came into effect in 2016, between the European Union and Turkey, President Erdogan and his ministers have made repeated threats to open the border.
Turkey, Hezbollah Order EU to ‘Kneel’ or ‘We Open the Gates and Send 3.6 Million Refugees Your Way’ https://t.co/xyRxrdVdak
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 11, 2019
Last year Erdogan made several threats to “open the gates” including a threat in September in which he demanded aid from European countries to build a “security zone” along the border to settle around one million asylum seekers.
“Give us logistical support, and we can build houses up to 30 kilometres into the north of Syria,” he said and added, “Either that happens, or we open the gates.”
As of September, EU spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud noted that the political bloc had paid Turkey 5.6 billion euros as part of the EU-Turkey migrant pact.
Greece is the likely first stop for any of the migrants heading to Europe in the next 72 hours and was already expecting a surge in migrant numbers this year, with Manos Logothetis, the government commissioner for the initial reception of refugees, predicting 100,000 by the end of 2020.
It is estimated that as many as 3.6 million Syrian asylum seekers are currently in Turkey.