In yet another veiled threat to the European Union, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that Turkey currently hosts 3 million refugees and that if they were to march to Europe, the EU would not know what to do with them.
In an interview with the Qatar-based Al Jazeera TV, Erdoğan said the 3 million refugees in Turkey could march to Europe, without explaining how they might do that. In a progress report released earlier this week, the EU severely criticized Turkey for backsliding in democracy but praised its efforts to contain refugees inside the country.
Criticizing Europe for not accepting even 100 or 500 refugees, Erdoğan brought to mind the EU’s promise to give Turkey 3 billion euros in June in addition to another 3 billion.
“As far as I can remember, until now the EU has only given Turkey 250-300 million euros,” Erdoğan said.
The EU has been criticized for not taking any concrete action against Turkey despite growing despotism in the country for the sake of a refugee deal that was agreed earlier this year.
Following a further crackdown on media and the opposition last week, several EU politicians called for a suspension of accession talks with Turkey until the rule of law is restored. Erdoğan’s veiled threat to Europe came amid increasing criticism from the continent.
Meanwhile, Galip Öztürk, the owner of one of the largest passenger bus fleets in Turkey, wrote on Twitter on Friday that he is ready to transport migrants to the EU border upon Erdoğan’s orders.