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Erdogan Threatens to Open Gates for Syria Refugees to Go West

Erdogan Threatens to Open Gates for Syria Refugees to Go West

Thursday, 5 September, 2019 - 10:15
FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during the new judicial year's opening ceremony in Ankara, Turkey, September 2, 2019. Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS
Asharq Al-Awsat
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to allow Syrian refugees to leave Turkey for Western countries unless the safe zone inside Syria is established soon.

Erdogan made the threat in a speech to his ruling party officials on Thursday. He also said Turkey was determined to create the safe zone and would do it alone if there's no deal with the US by the end of the month.

He said Turkey aims to resettle about 1 million out of the 3.65 million Syrian refugees in the safe zone.

Ankara controls parts of north Syria where it says 350,000 Syrians have already returned.

Erdogan said: "We will be forced to open the gates. We cannot be forced to handle the burden alone."

He also added that Turkey "did not receive the support needed from the world" to help it cope with Syrian refugees.

Under a deal agreed between the EU and Turkey in March 2016, Ankara agreed to stem the flow of migrants into Europe in return for billions of euros in aid.

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