Greece, refugees and migrants wait at the frontier

Çavuşoğlu to the EU: ”Turkey cannot host more refugees”

Turkish foreign minister denounced the treatment that Greece has given to refugees and the silence of the EU. “We cannot continue to protect the borders of NATO and Europe alone,” he warned.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has again insisted that Turkey cannot absorb any more refugees, whether they are coming from Syria or elsewhere, and again denounced Greece‘s treatment of refugees and the silence of the European Union in the face of human rights violations by Athens.

In an op-ed written for the Financial Times newspaper entitled “EU inaction on Syrian refugees is a stain on human conscience”, Çavuşoğlu questioned the EU‘s claim to be a model world power in respect of human rights and international law, adding that unless measures are taken against Greece’s mistreatment of refugees, shame of European countries will be exposed.

“I have long cautioned the EU not to be complacent about the challenges it faces, including the rise of extremism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism,” the Turkish minister stressed.

“We have called for a revamped international system to manage the huge displacement of people fleeing conflicts such as Syria’s. We have painstakingly tried to convince the EU to help us resolve such conflicts and address the fragilities that surround Europe “insisted Çavuşoğlu, who stated that after 9 years of war “Idlib has become a ‘new Gaza‘, where 3.5 million people are sequestered.”

“A million people were marching to the Turkish border, than that of NATO and Europe”

He also referred to the recent military operation launched by the Turkish army in Syria against Assad‘s forces: “When Turkish soldiers were attacked in February, we retaliated forcefully and showed what it means to attack a NATO country,” explained the Turkey’s foreign minister, recalling that “1 million people had begun marching toward NATO and Europe’s southeastern boundary, the Turkish-Syrian border.”

Çavuşoğlu further recalled that Turkey has already spent more than $ 40 billion to help refugees on its territory and in Syria, but warned that “we cannot continue to protect the borders of NATO and Europe alone.”

Regarding Turkey’s decision to open its borders with Greece and Bulgaria to allow refugees to cross to Europe, the minister stressed that their final destination was never Turkey and that Ankara is limiting to give them freedom of passage, after the EU ignored its requests for help and breached the pacts signed in 2016.

“We cannot force them to stay. Our unheeded calls for the EU to take this wave of migrants seriously, and to comply with the refugee deal it struck with Turkey in 2016, reached the boiling point with the latest Idlib displacement.” he said, again criticising the lack of action due to the disproportionate action of the Greek police against the refugees, which has caused several deaths.

“What followed is a disgrace to the EU and a stain on human conscience. The EU and its parliamentarians did little more than watch on as Greek forces sprayed tear gas and fired on people at their border. Greece also suspended refugee applications. The U.N. was critical; the EU not. People died, scores were wounded and European prestige was damaged globally.” he concluded.