Er­do­gan threat­ened to “flood Europe with refugees”

Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan threat­ened to flood Europe with mi­grants in Novem­ber if Euro­pean Union lead­ers did not of­fer him a bet­ter deal to help man­age the refugee cri­sis, a Greek news web­site said on Mon­day.

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Pub­lish­ing what it said were min­utes of a tense meet­ing last Novem­ber, the eu­ro2­day.gr fi­nan­cial news web­site re­vealed deep mu­tual ir­ri­ta­tion and dis­trust in talks be­tween Er­do­gan and the EU’s two top of­fi­cials, Jean-Claude Juncker and Don­ald Tusk.

The EU of­fi­cials were try­ing to en­list Ankara’s help in stem­ming an in­flux of Syr­ian refugees and mi­grants into Europe. Over a mil­lion ar­rived last year, most cross­ing the nar­row sea gap be­tween Turkey and is­lands be­long­ing to EU mem­ber Greece.

Tusk’s Euro­pean Coun­cil and Juncker’s Euro­pean Com­mis­sion de­clined to con­firm or deny the au­then­tic­ity of the doc­u­ment, and Er­do­gan’s of­fice in Ankara had no im­me­di­ate com­ment.

The ac­count of the meet­ing, in English, was pro­duced in fac­sim­ile on the web­site. It does not state when or where the meet­ing took place, but it ap­pears to have been on 16 Novem­ber, in An­talya, Turkey, where the three met af­ter a G20 sum­mit.

“We can open the doors to Greece and Bul­garia any­time and we can put the refugees on buses ... So how will you deal with refugees if you don’t get a deal? Kill the refugees?” Er­do­gan was quoted in the text as telling the EU of­fi­cials.

It also quoted him as de­mand­ing EUR 6 bln over two years.

When Juncker made clear only half that amount was on of­fer, he said Turkey didn’t need the EU’s money any­way.

The EU even­tu­ally agreed on a EUR 3 bln fund to im­prove con­di­tions for refugees in Turkey, re­vive Ankara’s longstalled ac­ces­sion talks, and ac­cel­er­ate visa-free travel for Turks, in ex­change for Ankara curb­ing the num­bers of asy­lum seek­ers pour­ing into neigh­bour­ing Greece.

In heated ex­changes, Er­do­gan of­ten in­ter­rupted Juncker and Tusk, the pur­ported min­utes show, ac­cus­ing the EU of de­ceiv­ing Turkey, and of Juncker per­son­ell be­ing

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