Turkish president slams EU ‘dictatorship’ against refugee crisis

May 9, 2016 11:25 am

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures during a speech with local village and town leaders at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, , May 4, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the EU of “dictatorship” and “cruelty” over a recent wave of refugees fleeing widespread violence in their home countries.
Addressing an audience attending a short film competition titled “Mercy and Justice” in Istanbul, Erdogan said European nations had “no mercy and no justice.”
The Turkish president has already thrown into doubt the future of a deal with the EU which would allow Turkish citizens visa-free travel in Europe
Erdogan has suggested that Turkey wouldn’t meet a EU demand for his country to reform its anti-terrorism legislation.
His harsh words against the EU came after Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who negotiated the deal, announced he would step down later this month following a rift with Erdogan.
Europe is facing an unprecedented influx of refugees who are fleeing conflict-ridden zones in Africa and the , particularly Syria.
Over 183,000 asylum seekers have reached Europe via the Mediterranean so far this year, according to the latest figures by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Italian police use water cannons against “No border” activists and the supporters of refugees at the Brenner Pass, during demonstrations against Austria’s possible decision to close the border with Italy, May 7, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Over 1,350 refugees perished at sea during the first four months of 2016, mostly along the Central Mediterranean route. The number stood at 1,733 for the same period in 2015, the IOM announced on May 3.
Refugees taking the Libya-Italy route are mostly from West Africa and the Horn of Africa, while refugees landing in Greece and taking the Balkans route are Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis, fleeing from war and persecution.
Many blame the major European powers for the unprecedented exodus, saying their policies have led to a surge in terrorism and war in the violence-hit regions, forcing more people out of their homes.

A general overview shows part of a makeshift camp for refugees and asylum seekers on the railroad tracks near the village of Idomeni, not far from the Greek-Macedonian border, May 2, 2016. (By AFP)

In his speech, Erdogan also leveled strident criticism against the EU over leaving Turkey alone in what he said is the fight against Daesh terrorists.
“None of those who say they have been fighting against Daesh terrorist network in Syria, neither have they suffered as many casualties as us nor paid a price as much as we did,” he said.
“They left us alone in our fight against this network, which has been hurting us through bombers and attacks against Kilis,” Erdogan claimed.
“The difference between the reactions to the Ankara and Istanbul bombings and the reactions to the activities in Paris and Brussels, is nothing else but a concrete injustice,” he added, referring to terrorist attacks in France and Belgium.
The comments by Erdogan come even as Turkey itself is accused of supporting militant groups operating to topple President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
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