Turkish president claims ‘millions’ of migrants could soon arrive in Europe

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PHOTO: AFP

The Turkish president has warned that “millions” of migrants and refugees will soon head towards Europe, BBC reported.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was speaking after announcing Turkey could no longer enforce a 2016 deal with the EU to prevent migrants from entering Europe.

Erdoğan said Turkey could not cope with a new wave of Syrian refugees.

Nearly a million Syrians have fled to the Turkish border from the Idlib area, amid heavy fighting between Turkish-backed rebels and Syrian government forces.

Turkey is already hosting 3.7 million Syrian refugees as well as migrants from other countries such as Afghanistan — but previously stopped them from leaving for Europe.

In a televised speech, Erdoğan said the EU had provided no help for resettling Syrian refugees in “safe zones” inside Syria.

After Turkey opened its doors for migrants to leave its territory for Europe last week, he said, “hundreds of thousands have crossed, soon it will reach millions.”

The Turkish leader gave no evidence for his figures, while Greece said about 1,000 migrants had reached its eastern Aegean islands from Turkey since Sunday morning.

In addition Greece said it had stopped almost 10,000 migrants from crossing its land border in 24 hours. Some migrants tossed stones and metal bars when stopped, and Greek border guards fired tear gas.

Besides Syrians, there are Afghans and West Africans among the migrants at the border.

“Either we bring these people to a dignified life in their own land, or everyone will get their share of this burden. Now the period of unilateral sacrifice is over,” Erdoğan said.

In a statement on Monday the Greek government said, “Turkey, instead of curbing the traffickers’ channels of migrants and refugees, has itself turned into a trafficker.”

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