As Turkey opened its borders to Europe to potentially millions of migrants, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan reportedly said that the European Union must support Turkey in Syria if it wants migrants solution. According to international media reports, Tukey hosts more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees and thousands of migrants searched for ways to cross Greece's border with Turkey on March 3.
Turkey had reportedly also demanded more support from Europe in dealing with the fallout from the Syrian war to its south, however, Erdogan accused EU of ignoring Turkey's security concerns while supporting Greece. Earlier this week, Turkish Ambassador to UK also accused EU of 'betrayal, hypocrisy' and 'selfishness' over alleged violation of a 2016 agreement under which his country agreed to stem the flow of migrants into the bloc. Turkey ambassador also said that EU's treatment of the agreement with Turkey constituted a 'very huge disappointment' that could only be rectified by fulfilling the 2016 commitments.
Erdogan on Saturday claimed that over 18,000 refugees had crossed the western border that it shares with Greece after Ankara opened its gate amid a new military campaign in north-western Syria. According to reports, Erdogan did not provide any evidence to support his claim but said that Turkey is not obliged to look after and feed so many refugees. Erdogan's claim came after chaos sparked at the western border where Greek troops prevented migrants from entering Europe by firing teargas and stun grenades.
Erdogan had threatened to open its western border allowing migrants to cross to Europe, with which it had signed an accord in 2016 promising to prevent migration in return of financial support. Erdogan complained that funds meant to support the refugees were arriving too slowly from Brussels.
However, media reports suggest that the new shift in Ankara's policy is because Turkey is trying to secure support from NATO and the European Union over its new military campaign in north-western Idlib province, Syria's last rebel-held region. According to reports, the Turkish military is supporting the rebels in Idlib who are facing an onslaught from Assad's regime forces that are backed by Russian airpower.