Duvar English / Reuters
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on March 2 she understood that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expected more help from Europe to deal with the refugee crisis, but added he should not use refugees to express his dissatisfaction.
“I understand that Turkey is facing a very big challenge regarding Idlib,” Merkel told reporters. “Still, for me it’s unacceptable that he – President Erdğan and his government – are not expressing this dissatisfaction in a dialogue with us as the European Union, but rather on the back of the refugees. For me, that’s not the way to go forward.”
Merkel added that the European Union and Turkey should resume talks about their refugee agreement and that Germany was also open to supporting Turkey bilaterally.
Merkel’s comments followed soon after Erdoğan said that the number of migrants heading towards Europe will soon reach millions, as he commented on Ankara’s decision last week to let migrants cross its borders into Europe.
“The number of migrants who headed to Europe surpassed 100,000 since we opened our borders. The number will be in millions soon,” Erdoğan said.
EU interior ministers to discuss Turkey border situation
Meanwhile, European Union home affairs ministers will hold an extraordinary meeting on March 4 to discuss the situation at the EU’s border with Turkey where thousands of migrants are trying to cross into Greece and Bulgaria since last week, Reuters said, citing three officials.
The meeting is meant to provide support to Greece and Bulgaria in their task of patrolling the EU external border, two officials said, reporting the results of a meeting of EU diplomats on March 2.
Turkish minister: Over 117,000 migrants left Turkey to reach Europe
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on March 2 that 117,677 migrants had left Turkey for Europe through the border province of Edirne since last week, when Turkey announced that it would no longer stop migrants from leaving its territory.
Turkey’s announcement followed an attack on Turkish troops in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib which killed at least 34 soldiers.