Turkey’s interior minister, Süleyman Soylu, said European governments would not be able to handle the ensuing migration crisis if Turkey were to stop doing its part to stem migrant flow, the Evrensel newspaper reported on Sunday.
Speaking at an event held in İzmir, the minister accused European countries of leaving Turkey alone to deal with the migration issue.
“If Turkey does not hold back the migrant flow, no government in Europe will stand for six months,” he said. “Let us try if they wish to.”
“Roll up your sleeves and assist Turkey in dealing with it. Don’t just pretend,” he said. “We advise them not to try our patience.”
Soylu claimed the crisis has nothing to do with Turkey’s choices in terms of foreign or migration policy. “It has developed completely beyond our reach. It is about people who fled their country, opting to come here due to its proximity to Europe.”
The government recently adopted a tighter policy on Syrian refugees sheltering in Turkey, especially in İstanbul, which the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) recently lost to opposition in local elections.
After he declared on July 6 that the government would no longer issue new residence permits to Syrians in İstanbul, the governor’s office on Monday ordered unregistered Syrians in İstanbul to leave the city by Aug. 20.