BELGRADE – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan today slammed EU and UN pressure to open Turkey’s borders to more refugees, threatening to send the millions already in the country to other states, EurActiv.com reports.
“We do not have the word ‘idiot’ written on our foreheads. Don’t think that the planes and the buses are there for nothing. We will do the necessary,” Erdoğan told a business forum in Ankara.
He also said he had previously told the European Union’s two top officials, Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk, that the time could come when Turkey would open the gates for migrants to travel to Europe.
The statements confirm that the transcript of a conversation during the G20 meeting in Antalya last November, in which Erdoğan was quoted as threatening Europe with migrants, is true.
The Turkish president said his country’s patience may run out over the crisis in Syria, and that the United Nations should do more to prevent what he said was “ethnic cleansing” in the country.
Erdoğan accused the United Nations of insincerity in calling on Turkey to do more to help Syrian refugees instead of taking action to prevent the bloodshed in its southern neighbour. The EU has also pleaded so that Turkey opens its borders to thousands of refugees fleeing Aleppo.
“Shame on you! Shame on you!” said Erdoğan, adding that instead, the United Nations could pressure its members to take in more refugees.
“The United Nations should give advice to other countries. And then we can send the refugees to these countries,” he said.
Russian warplanes have been bombing Aleppo, in support of a Syrian government offensive to recapture the city, sending tens of thousands of people fleeing to the Turkish border.
“There is a chance the new wave of refugees will reach 600,000 if air strikes continue. We are making preparations for it,” Erdoğan told the audience in Ankara.
“We will show patience up to a point, and then we’ll do what’s necessary,” he said, adding that Turkey had information that Iran-backed forces in Syria were carrying out “merciless massacres”.