German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday criticized Turkey’s dealing with refugees, saying that it was “unacceptable” that Turkey decided to open its border with the European Union (EU) for refugees.
“The Turkish president doesn’t feel fully supported at the moment,” Merkel told reporters in Berlin, adding “with all understanding, however, it was completely unacceptable to score political points at the expense of refugees.”
Turkey announced on Thursday that it would no longer stop the migrants from going to Europe.
Thousands of refugees have flooded to Turkish borders with Greece and Bulgaria since then.
“The refugees have now been put in a situation to go to the border there and essentially to end up in a cul-de-sac,” she said, noting that Erdogan’s Saturday announcement was not “our politics”.
Merkel acknowledged Erdogan’s predicament, given the latest influx into Turkey of Syrian refugees.
“Turkey has done a lot…The situation for Turkey has again developed very, very drastically because of what is going on in Idlib,” she said, referring to the situation in Syria’s northwestern province.
Merkel said that she had spoken to both Erdogan and French President Emmanuel Macron about how humanitarian aid should be provided to the people in Syria, how a ceasefire could be achieved and how Turkey could possibly be supported.
“For me, the option is that we talk to Turkey so that we get back to the situation we had before, namely that Turkey fulfills its obligations with our support, even as the burden has grown,” Merkel noted.
Turkey decided to open its border gates for illegal migrants after at least 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in an airstrike in Idlib, the last rebel-held stronghold.
Around 1.5 million Syrian refugees, fleeing from the bombardments of Syrian forces in Idlib, have also flooded Turkey’s border with Syria.
Currently, Turkish authorities do not allow these refugees to cross the border into Turkey, keeping them on the Syrian side.
Hosting over 3.7 million Syrian refugees in its territory, the Turkish government earlier announced that it could no longer cope with a new flow of refugees alone. Enditem