Outspoken Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Thursday addressed a sharp message to the European Union over the refugee crisis as Turkey continues to threaten that it would ease their passage to Europe because the country has reached its accommodation limit and have not received the promised financial assistance.
In a speech he delivered in Ankara on Thursday, he said “we do not have the word ‘idiot’ written on our foreheads. We will be patient but we will do what we have to. Don’t think that the planes and the buses are there for nothing.”
At the end of last year, the EU promised to give €3billion euros to Ankara to help it cope with the flow of Syrian refugees, but the amount has not been released yet.
President Erdogan claims that his country has spent more than $9 billion on refugees since the Syrian war began in 2011. He said he is proud of his statements to the EU during a summit in November because “we have defended the rights of Turkey and the rights of the refugees. And we told them: ‘Sorry, we will open the doors and say ‘goodbye’ to the migrants’.” Turkey has borders with Greece and Bulgaria.
NATO has decided to step in to curb the mass arrivals of migrants to Europe by sending ships to the Aegean Sea “without delay.” The sea is used by smugglers to take migrants from Turkey to Europe.
Calls by the UN for Ankara to take in more refugees fleeing the war in Syria especially from Aleppo where clashes have intensified were described as shameful.
“Shame on you! Shame on you!” said Erdogan, stressing that the UN should be telling states to take in refugees from the more than 2.5 million that Turkey is already hosting. He claimed that the UN spent less than $500million in the refugee crisis.