Erdogan Tells Europe: Expect ‘Millions’ of Migrants via Turkey

OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Monday that “millions” of migrants would soon head for Europe and its open borders, making good on threats made over the past five years to send a flood of people into E.U. heartlands.

Turkey gave the green light to refugees and migrants on Friday to strike out for Europe and thousands have since massed at the Greek border, triggering fears of an influx like that which poisoned European politics in 2015.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel described Turkey’s move as “unacceptable” and E.U. migration commissioner Margaritis Schinas said nobody could “blackmail or intimidate the E.U.”

The threat of a human flood has long been a tactic of Erdogan’s dealings with Europe.

Listen: Breitbart London editor Oliver JJ Lane discusses Erdogan opening the border on Breitbart News Daily on Sirius XM Patriot:

As far back as 2016 Breitbart News reported an E.U. Parliament non-binding vote to freeze Turkey’s accession to the bloc was met by the  Islamist president threatening to flood the continent with migrants.

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

As recently as December, 2019 he said the same thing, calling on E.U. countries to provide more financial support for his plan to create a “safe zone”.

“Whether or not support comes, we will continue to host our guests, but only up to a point,” Erdogan said at a news conference alongside Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

“If we see that this does not work, just like I said before, we will have no option left but to open the gates. If we open the gates, it is obvious where they will go,” Erdogan added.

Now he has made good on those threats, ramping up the pressure late on Monday, saying he had turned down an E.U. offer of one billion euros (£1.1 billion) in extra aid for migrants, adding to a six-billion-euro deal agreed in 2016.

“We don’t want this money,” Erdogan said at a news conference without specifying when the money was offered, or by whom.

He claimed the numbers of migrants at the Greek border – who include Afghans, Syrian and Iraqis – were far higher than figures provided by officials and reporters at the scene, saying “hundreds of thousands” were already there.

“There will be more. Soon, this number will be expressed in millions,” he added.

AFP contributed to this report

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