Turkey’s Erdoğan calls on EU to share refugee burden, calls for no-fly zones
AA PhotoOnce again underlining that Turkey has struggled to cope with the mass influx of Syrian refugees over the past four years, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called on the EU to share the burden, also presenting a three-pronged formula for a lasting solution.
“We have never sent those [refugees] coming to Turkey to other countries,” Erdoğan said on Oct. 5, speaking at a joint press conference following his meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk.
He recalled that Turkey currently hosts 2.2 million refugees from Syria and 200,000 refugees from Iraq, while Europe as a whole hosts fewer than 250,000 refugees in total.
“I want to remind you once more that the reason for the refugee crisis is the war in Syria and the [Bashar] al-Assad regime, which has virtually launched a state terror,” Erdoğan said.
According to the Turkish president, three steps should be taken to deal with the ongoing migration crisis.
“[There should be a] focus on the train-equip program, the declaration of terror-free zones, and the declaration of no-fly zones,” he said.
Touching on the ongoing deadly clashes between Turkish security forces and militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which broke out after the collapse of a two-and-a-half-year de facto ceasefire in July, Erdoğan voiced his resentment over “some EU countries” without naming them.
Although the EU blacklists the PKK as a terrorist organization, “some EU members have been ignoring this,” he said, also suggesting that “black propaganda” by the PKK has been spread in Europe.
“No opportunity should be granted to efforts [by the PKK] to gain legitimacy,” Erdoğan said.
Underlining that the security forces’ fight is “not aimed at the Kurdish people,” but solely against the PKK, he also underlined links between the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria with the PKK.
“The PYD is a terrorist organization like the PKK and it is working together [with the PKK],” Erdoğan stated.