Turkish president blames European countries for refugee plight
ANKARATurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has blamed European countries for abandoning Syrian refugees to their fate by shutting their doors to them, while highlighting that international terrorism, including the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), would be on the agenda of the upcoming G-20 Summit.
“I hope and pray the G-20 [Summit] will provide a platform whereby all of these issues can be discussed openly and where we can understand each other. The EU is on the brink of reinterpretation of the situation, because they started asking certain questions to themselves. They wondered what would happen if these 2.2 million refugees get out of Turkey and start marching towards the EU,” Erdoğan said.
“Their gross national products are much higher than ours and financially and economically they are more robust than the Republic of Turkey. Why do you think they keep their doors closed? They expect those refugees to just die and get lost in the waters of the Mediterranean but that’s not what we do, we are trying to save them,” he said in an interview with CNN International aired on Nov. 12, ahead of the G-20 Summit in Turkey’s Mediterranean resort town of Antalya.
“Let me put it this way. Whatever we said came to be true up to today. And they say ‘no’ to every claim that we voice but unfortunately they will come to terms with our claims and they will say ‘okay, yes’ because every penny that they spent goes in vain. All the arms, all the equipment they provide to the troops are lost in vain. Because they get confiscated by the terrorist organizations,” he said, when asked to comment on Turkey’s allies’, particularly the United States’, apparent reluctance to Turkey’s aspiration to create a safe zone in Syrian territory.
“We have warned them but they’re still following the same trajectory. They’ve made mistakes but they are repeating their mistakes. So these are the issues we are going to keep on discussing around the table throughout the G-20. We have Plan-B and we have a Plan-C. And when the time is right, we might start implementing those plans. But the actual question and the actual deal at the end of the day is to save Syria out of this turmoil,” Erdoğan said.
CNN International’s Hala Gorani also asked about criticism leveled at Turkey for bombing more Kurdish militant positions than ISIL positions.
“This is not a very accurate criticism I must say. Let me draw your attention to something, you can’t call one terrorist good and the other one evil; all terrorists are evil. We are being told this over and over: ‘The YPG [the People’s Protection Units] is fighting against ISIL and the PYD [Democratic Union Party] is fighting against ISIL and because of that they are being supported through weaponry.’ And when I hear this I respond by saying the following: ‘If you think that those terrorists are good because they are fighting against ISIL then al-Nusra should be good because they are fighting against ISIL as well. Are you going to be able to label al-Nusra a good terrorist group?’ They have no answer,” Erdoğan said.