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Ankara to host migration summit, defies EU pressure to shut border

Ankara to host migration summit, defies EU pressure to shut border

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday he would not stop migrants trying to cross Turkey’s border into Greece despite EU pressure to do so. He also announced a summit next week in Istanbul with European leaders to seek a solution to the crisis.

“Our proposal to Greece is to open the gates,” he told reporters on his plane back to Turkey after discussing the migrant crisis on Monday in Brussels with top EU officials. “These people won’t stay in Greece. Let them cross from Greece into other European countries,” he said.

Erdogan said he would convene a summit in Istanbul on March 17 on the migrant issue with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and possibly British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Reuters reported.

The Turkish president said he had stressed in the Brussels talks the need to update both the 2016 migration deal between Ankara and the EU and Turkey’s customs union with the bloc, and also to revive Turkey's stalled EU accession process.