• Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019
  • Last Update : 10:33 pm

Erdogan threatens EU with refugee influx if criticizes Syria operation

  • Published at 09:30 pm October 10th, 2019
ERDOGAN
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a meeting of his ruling AK Party in Ankara, Turkey, October 10, 2019 Reuters

Turkey launched an operation into Syrian territory on Wednesday, aimed at combating Kurdish militants tied to insurgents in its own territory

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned the EU on Thursday that Ankara would allow millions of refugees to head to Europe if the bloc criticised Turkey's military offensive in Syria. 

"Hey EU, wake up. I say it again: if you try to frame our operation there as an invasion, our task is simple: we will open the doors and send 3.6 million migrants to you," Erdogan said in a speech to his party.

Turkey launched an operation into Syrian territory on Wednesday, aimed at combating Kurdish militants tied to insurgents in its own territory.

Erdogan said 109 "terrorists" had been killed so far in the operation, which would soon cover ground from Manbij in northern Syria to the Iraqi border some 350km (220 miles) east.

"God willing, we will crush these snakes' heads quickly," he said.

"What we are trying to do is prevent the establishment of a terrorist state on our southern border. This cannot happen."

Turkey currently hosts 3.6 million refugees from the eight-year conflict in Syria – the highest number in the world.