Author: Cynthia Kroet
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday threatened to drop border controls imposed earlier this year to prevent migrants and refugees from reaching EU countries.
In an address delivered in Istanbul, Erdoğan said he would allow migrants to leave for the EU from Turkey’s shores after the European Parliament on Thursday voted to freeze Ankara’s accession talks with Brussels.
“Listen to me. If you go any further, then the frontiers will be opened, bear that in mind,” Erdoğan said according to an AFP report.
“You never treated humanity honestly and you did not look after people fairly. You did not pick up babies when they washed ashore on the Mediterranean. We are the ones who are feeding around 3.5 million refugees in this country,” he told the EU according to local media.
A large majority of the Parliament members backed the non-binding resolution to freeze membership talks as a punishment for the widespread crackdown by Erdoğan following the failed coup attempt in July.
Erdoğan earlier said the vote had “no value.”
Tensions between Turkey and the EU have been rising for weeks. The European Commission called on Turkey in its latest progress report to halt the “backsliding” on human rights since the coup attempt.
Turkey and the EU member states in March reached a deal under which Turkey halts the flow of migrants to Europe in exchange for financial incentives and the prospect of visa-free access to Europe for Turks.
The threat out of Ankara was “not helpful,” Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman said Friday, stressing that both parties should work to resolve “difficulties.”
“The EU stands by its commitments under the agreement and is meeting its commitments,” she said. “Threats on either side are not helpful now.”