President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened Friday to open Turkey’s borders to allow migrants to reach the EU, in a move that would tear up a landmark deal that has reduced the flow.
Erdogan’s comments, some of his toughest in recent times against the European Union, prompted an immediate warning from Germany which helped broker the deal that such “threats” were unhelpful.
The threat came a day after the European Parliament angered Ankara by backing a freeze in EU accession talks, already hit by alarm over its crackdown in the wake of the July 15 failed coup.
“Listen to me. If you go any further, then the frontiers will be opened, bear that in mind,” Erdogan told the EU during a speech in Istanbul.
He said Brussels had cried out for help in 2015 as tens of thousands of migrants massed at Turkey’s border crossing with EU member Bulgaria.
“You began to ask us ‘what will we do if Turkey opens its borders’?” he asked.