Erdoğan threatens to open border gates for refugees after EP vote

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Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has threatened to the open border gates to Europe for millions of Syrian refugees as he lambasted the European Parliament (EP) for a vote held on Thursday in favor of freezing membership talks with Turkey.

“They [EP] convened, with 30 to 40 people saying ‘No,’ 300 to 400 saying, ‘Yes’ to the resolution. Come on, who cares even all of you had said, ‘Yes’?” Erdoğan said at a conference in İstanbul on the prevention of domestic violence.

A total of 479 EP deputies voted in favor of imposing a “temporary freeze” on the talks with Turkey while 37 deputies voted against the non-binding resolution in a vote held in Strasbourg in Thursday.

Erdoğan accused the EU of never treating humanity well.

“When Aylan babies come ashore, you did not allow them in. We are the ones who are feeding 3 million refugees in this country. You did not keep up with the promises you made. Look at me, if you go further, we will open border gates [for refugees],” Erdoğan said.

Erdoğan was referring to an EU-Turkey deal in March in which he agreed that refugees who reached Greece — and therefore the EU — would be sent back to Turkey. In exchange, Turks would be allowed visa-free travel in most of the EU as well as financial aid.

Aylan Kurdi was a 3-year-old Syrian boy of Kurdish ethnic background whose image made global headlines after he drowned on Sept. 2, 2015 in the Mediterranean Sea. He and his family were Syrian refugees trying to reach Europe amid the European refugee crisis.

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