Erdogan: 'Era of one-sided sacrifices on migrants over'

  • 00:36 03 March 2020

Erdogan: 'Era of one-sided sacrifices on migrants over'

Turkey's president on Monday said his country will no longer shoulder the burden of caring for refugees on its own, APA reports citing Anadolu Agency.  

"The era of one-sided sacrifices is now over," Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a meeting of his Justice and Development (AK) Party in the capital Ankara. 

"Since Turkey opened borders, more than 100,000 migrants have left for Europe, this number will soon reach a million," said Erdogan. 

Thousands of migrants flocked to Edirne's Pazarkule border crossing to Greece after Turkish officials announced Friday they would no longer try to stop irregular migrants from reaching Europe. 

It followed an attack by Syrian regime forces on Turkish troops in the Idlib de-escalation zone, which martyred 34 soldiers last week.

Turkey already hosts some 3.7 million migrants from Syria alone, more than any other country in the world. 

Ankara has repeatedly complained that Europe has failed to keep its promises under the 2016 EU-Turkey refugee deal to help migrants and stem further migrant waves.   

No 'particular problem' with Russia, Iran 

Erdogan said Turkey had no particular problem with Iran or Russia in Syria’s Idlib province, but his country aimed at solving the humanitarian crisis as refugees continue to flee northern Syria, and making sure that "our territory is safe." 

“Until now we conducted our operations in Idlib in a restricted manner, because we wanted to continue this process with the utmost sensitivity. However, we realized our intentions were not properly understood. That is why we started the Operation Spring Shield, extending the scope of our operations after 34 of our soldiers were martyred on Feb. 27," Erdogan said. 

Turkey on Sunday launched Operation Spring Shield after at least 34 Turkish soldiers were martyred and dozens injured in an Assad regime airstrike in Idlib, a de-escalation zone in northwestern Syria, just across Turkey’s southern border. 

As of this morning, Turkey neutralized a total of 2,557 regime forces, also destroying 135 tanks, more than 40 armored vehicles, 45 cannons, 44 multiple rocket launchers, 12 anti-tanks, 29 anti-aircraft weapons, one drone, 8 helicopters, 9 ammunition depots, 7 ammunition ramps, 2 jets. 

Under a September 2018 deal with Russia, Turkey has sent troops to northern Syria to protect civilians attacks by Assad regime and Russian forces. 

More than 1,300 civilians have since been killed in the Idlib de-escalation zone in such attacks, sending about a million refugees towards Turkey's border with Syria.  

Meeting with Putin on Thursday 

Erdogan also said that he would discuss recent developments in Idlib with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Thursday.

"I hope that we can take the necessary steps, such as cease-fire and achieve results on the issue quickly."

Faig Mahmudov