Turkish President Erdogan sends fierce demand to EU over migrants – 'Open the gates!'

The intervention comes as Ankara grows increasingly concerned about delays in setting up the zone and the fate of Kurdish militia YPG, a US ally that Turkey considers a terrorist organisation. According to The Guardian, Turkey has threatened to move its troops unilaterally to the zone. Mr Erdogan said: “We will be forced to open the gates. We cannot be forced to handle the burden alone.”

The comments have been met with concern in Greece.

Around 12,000 asylum seekers landed in Greece over July and August with 650 recaching Lesbos in a single day last week.

Mr Erdogan claims that Ankara has spent $40billion (£32.5billion) supporting Syrian refugees but is being let down by Brussels and Washington.

A 2016 agreement saw the EU pledge €6billion (£5.4billion) in return for controls preventing refugees leaving Turkey for European territory but Ankara claims to have only received half of the sum.

Mr Erdogan said in Ankara: “We are saying we should form such a safe zone that we, as Turkey, can build towns in lieu of the tent cities here.

“Let’s carry them to the safe zones there.

“Give us logistical support and we can go build housing at 30km (20 miles) depth in northern Syria.”

Mr Erdogan, who has been President since 2014, a role which in 2018 replaced Prime Minister as head of government following a referendum continued: “This way, we can provide them with humane living conditions.

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“Right now nobody knows what will happen.”

The deal expires at the end of the year.

Turkey and Syria share a 511 mile long border.

Greece cares a 120 miles border with Turkey.

The Aegean Sea also separates both countries.

Nine Greek administrative regions border the sea to the west, whilst six Turkish province border it to the east.

Turkey also shares a 167 mile border with Bulgaria.

Athens is a member of the Schengen Area, whilst Sofia has not yet joined, but is legally obliged to do so eventually.

Ankara applied to join the EEC in 1987 and has been a recognised candidate for EU membership in 1999.

source: express.co.uk