TURKISH President Erdogan has called on Greece to open its borders for migrants trying to reach Europe.
It comes ahead of the President’s talks with European Union leaders on Monday in the midst of a tense stand-off.
Tensions between Turkey and the EU have been rising over who is responsible for the millions of migrants and refugees on Turkish territory and the thousands who have massed recently at the Greek border.
In a speech marking International Women's Day, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asserted that women and children were bearing the brunt of the crisis.
Erdogan said: “Why don't you open your gates too, let them go to other countries, and rid yourself of this burden."
He also added he’d hoped the talks would produce “different outcomes” on the migrant crisis – but warned that he expected “much more support”.
Erdogan argues that Turkey deserves help dealing refugees and the fallout from the conflict in Syria and in trying to persuade the Russian-backed government to halt its attacks on civilians.
The EU has accused Mr Erdogan of using migrants for political purposes, insisting its doors are "closed".
Thousands of migrants headed for Turkey's land border with EU member Greece after Erdogan's government announced earlier this month that it would no longer prevent migrants and refugees from crossing over into EU countries.
He announced that Turkey, which already houses more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees, would no longer be Europe's gatekeeper.
Thousands of migrants have slept under terrible conditions in makeshift camps near the Greek border since the Turkish government said they were free to go, waiting for the opportunity to enter Greece.
Greece has deployed riot police and border guards to repel people trying to enter the country and the Greek border area has since seen violent confrontations between them and the migrants.
Fears are also growing that conditions in camps housing migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey could turn them into breeding grounds for the coronavirus.
Hostility towards the new arrivals, already running high, looks set to grow after Athens voiced concerns that some crossing into the country could carry the virus.
It has led to violent clashes between the migrants and Greek security forces, with officers in Greece firing tear gas to block the migrants and Turkish police firing tear gas back at their Greek counterparts.
Today, a fire ripped through a refugee centre on the Greek island of Lesbos.
It was the second fire at an installation built for migrants after a reception centre was burned down by unknown perpetrators last Monday.
The warehouse, which contained furniture and electrical appliances, was destroyed but there were thought to be no injuries, a firefighting service spokesman said.
On Saturday, young people threw rocks at Greek police and tried to break down a border fence in a desperate attempt enter the country.
At least two migrants were injured in the confrontations.
Throughout Sunday, activity at the Greek-Turkish border was reduced compared to previous days, although there were still attempts to breach Greece's border fence, with Greek forces pushing back.
According to police data, a total of 745 people were prevented from crossing the border and there were two arrests from 6 am to 6pm.
In total, there have been 293 arrests since February 29, and 41,060 people prevented from crossing over into Greece.
Source: Read Full Article