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Erdogan threatens to open Turkey’s border with Europe to migrants

Published: Friday, November 25, 2016 8:52 PM    |     Modified: Monday, August 7, 2017 9:54 AM
 

Turkey’s president has threatened to throw open his country’s borders to allow migrants to reach the EU after MEPs backed freezing membership talks.

The European Parliament vote for a temporary halt to negotiations came in response to concerns over Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s heavy-handed crackdown following a failed coup in July.

Last year, after more than a million migrants made their way into Europe, mostly through Turkey, a landmark deal was reached between Ankara and Brussels in March.

A unity rally in Turkey to protest at the failed coup on 15 July

July: A Look At The Events Proceeding Turkey’s Failed Coup

Turkey would stem the flow of migrants travelling by sea in exchange for a number of incentives, including fast-tracked membership talks, aid for refugees in the country and visa-free travel for Turkish citizens.

But Turkey’s “disproportionate” response to the uprising has led the Strasbourg assembly to press for negotiations to be suspended.

It has led Mr Erdogan to accuse the bloc of dishonesty and not keeping its side of the bargain.

Speaking in the wake of the vote, the Turkish leader said: “If you go any further, these border gates will be opened. Neither me nor my people will be affected by these empty threats.”

He also made specific reference to Turkey’s main border crossing with EU member Bulgaria.

Mr Erdogan also said money promised had yet to be delivered.

Since the thwarted coup, blamed on a network of followers of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, Turkey has engaged in an unprecedented crackdown.

Tens of thousands of people have been jailed and 120,000 people suspected of links to the cleric have been dismissed or suspended.

Turkey has also shut down more than 170 media outlets, detained more than 140 journalists and sacked elected Kurdish mayors and replaced them with government-appointed trustees.

 
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