We cannot accept Erdoğan’s blackmail on migrant deal, German MEP says

Manfred Weber (L) with former President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.

Manfred Weber, a German member of the European Parliament, criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s threats of releasing Syrian refugees into Europe and said using the 2016 EU-Turkey migrant deal as leverage would undermine economic relations between the two sides, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported on Sunday.

“We cannot accept blackmail. Turkey should know this,” the Christian Democrat politician told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper in an apparent reference to Erdoğan’s remarks in early September where he said Turkey would have to “open the gates” for the refugees in the event that its demands for a safe zone in northern Syria are not met by the end of the month.

“Are we supposed to carry this burden by ourselves?” Erdoğan had asked. “We may have to do this [release the refugees] in order to receive the necessary support to deal with it.”

Weber said he favors a continuation of the financial aid extended by the EU to Turkey within the framework of the migrant deal to include years after 2019. He also said the amount should be increased if needed as it has been utilized efficiently.

The conservative politician is known for his opposition to Turkey’s membership bid to the EU and has openly criticized Erdoğan for steering the country away from Europe and democratic values.

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  1. There is no “Gate to Open” anymore since the Bulgarian, Greek and every other border crossings into the EU have been fortified. Every illegal sailing boat into Greek waters would be returned to Turkish waters by the EU naval task force as was done successfully by Australian Border Protection forces against illegal migrants. This “returning the boats” practice has successfully deterred asylum seeker boats. Short of flying into the EU, I would say the man is simply bluffing. Ignore him.