Erdogan says Turkey saved EU from migrant crisis

Says Brussels should support Ankara more decisively

13 January, 16:31

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

    ISTANBUL - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during a meeting in Ankara with EU countries' ambassadors to Turkey, said that without Turkey's action, "Europe and Syria today would be living in a totally different situation and the migration crisis would be much deeper; there would be more terrorism and instability".

    "Despite its efforts to tackle the migration crisis, Turkey has failed to get adequate support from the EU," Erdogan said.

    He asked for an update to the 2016 agreement in which Brussels allocates funds to Ankara to support the management of refugees in Turkish territory, which according to official data amount to at least 3.77 million Syrians.

    In exchange for the funds, Turkey seals off its borders to migrants who want to illegally cross into the EU.

    "We expect Europe to share the burden of this situation with us equally," said Erdogan.

    He cited a lack of support from Brussels on plans to return Syrian refugees in Turkey to their homeland.

    Erdogan also asked for a stronger voice from the EU against alleged Greek government pushbacks of migrants who try to reach the Greek islands near the Turkish coast.

    These pushbacks are denounced often by the authorities in Ankara.

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