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Erdogan repeats threat to 'open the gates' for migrants to enter Europe

File photo of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP Budapest, Hungary Nov 07, 2019, 09.39 PM (IST)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday repeated his threat to "open the gates" for migrants to enter Europe unless more international support was provided, during a visit to Hungary on Thursday. 

"Whether or not support comes, we will continue to host our guests, but only up to a point," Erdogan said at a news conference alongside Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

"If we see that this does not work, just like I said before, we will have no option left but to open the gates. If we open the gates, it is obvious where they will go," Erdogan added.

Erdogan has called on EU countries to provide more financial support for his plan to create a "safe zone" in Syria where refugees can be repatriated.

Orban has been one of Europe's most outspoken opponents of accepting refugees and migrants, particularly from Muslim countries, and has backed Erdogan's efforts to repatriate them. 

"There are four million migrants in our country," Erdogan said. "It is possible that a serious number of those migrants will migrate to Europe. 

"The safe zone we want to create aims to ensure the migrants that are in our country go back to their homes, their lands."

The EU strongly criticised Turkey's offensive last month in northern Syria, which was designed to create the "safe zone". 

Erdogan said the EU's approach was "far from being constructive lately.... With that attitude, they only harm their own interests." 
 

Story highlights

Erdogan has called on EU countries to provide more financial support for his plan to create a 'safe zone' in Syria where refugees can be repatriated.