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2 Mar, 2020 16:53

Erdogan’s use of refugees to pressure EU is ‘unacceptable’ – Merkel

Erdogan’s use of refugees to pressure EU is ‘unacceptable’ – Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called Turkey’s decision to release thousands of migrants toward the EU “unacceptable,” and accused Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of pressuring the EU “on the back of the refugees.”

Turkey allowed thousands of migrants to leave its territory over the weekend, accusing EU leaders of failing to back its plans for a Turkish-controlled ‘safe zone’ inside Syrian territory. With Turkish forces engaged in open warfare with the Syrian government in Idlib, Erdogan opened the floodgates to Europe, in a move seemingly designed to put pressure on his NATO allies to back his Syrian offensive.

“I understand that Turkey is facing a very big challenge regarding Idlib,” Merkel told reporters on Tuesday. 

“Still, for me it's unacceptable that he – President Erdogan and his government – are not expressing this dissatisfaction in a dialogue with us as the European Union, but rather on the back of the refugees. For me, that's not the way to go forward.”

Also on rt.com FIERCE clashes, tear gas at border as Greece vows to ‘turn back’ flow of migrants from Turkey (VIDEOS)

Already, Greek authorities have struggled to hold back the human wave that has crashed upon its border with Turkey. “This is an invasion,” Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis told Skai TV on Monday, as police fired tear gas at migrants attempting to storm the border fence, and as the Greek coast guard tried to stop dinghies full of refugees from landing on the country’s southern islands.

Though criticized for her “open door” migration policy during the 2015 migrant crisis, Merkel has since attempted to reduce the influx. However, despite promising Erdogan additional aid in January in exchange for holding more than 3 million migrants on Turkish soil, Merkel refused to support her Turkish counterpart’s military operation in northern Syria, prompting Erdogan to follow through last weekend on his long-standing threat to release the migrants into Europe.

Also on rt.com Almost 10,000 migrants ‘stopped at Greek border’, but some have managed to slip through (VIDEO)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and a cohort of top EU officials will travel to the Greek/Turkish land border on Tuesday. On Monday, von der Leyen said that allowing potentially millions of migrants to enter Europe “cannot be an answer or solution” to Turkey’s problems in Syria.

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