Erdogan demands EU help in Syria as price to resolve migrant crisis
Ankara: Turkey’s president warned a fresh migrant crisis could only be resolved if Europe supports its efforts in Syria, as violent clashes broke out between refugees and police on the Greek border.
Thousands of migrants have massed at the Greek frontier since President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced last week that they would no longer be prevented from trying to enter Europe.
A Turkish official claimed one migrant was killed and five injured by live fire from the Greek side.
The claim was denied by Athens, but an AFP photographer earlier saw a migrant shot in the leg as a group of refugees tried to cut their way through the fencing near the official crossing at Pazarkule.
The group then threw stones at the Greek police, who responded with tear gas, while multiple shots and cries were heard.
Speaking in Ankara, Erdogan said Europe must support Turkey’s “political and humanitarian solutions in Syria” if it wants to resolve the situation.
Turkey already hosts some four million refugees, most of them Syrians, and has been fighting the Syrian regime in a bid to prevent another influx from Idlib, the last rebel stronghold, which has been under sustained attack by Damascus since December.
Close to one million people in Idlib have been displaced by the regime assault, which is backed by Russian air power, though they are currently blocked from entering Turkey.
Erdogan said he hopes a ceasefire would be “swiftly established” when he meets his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Thursday. – AFP