Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened European states with opening the borders and releasing Syrian refugees.
“When I say that I will open the doors, they (Europe – TASS) are simply outraged. Don’t worry, the time will come and we will open these doors. We’ll let you handle the hundreds of thousands [of refugees],” he said on Thursday during a speech in Ankara, transmitted by the NTV channel.
“We have four million [refugees]. If someone considers our humanitarian policy weak, we will be quick to answer with a blow of the iron fist,” he said.
On October 9, Turkey launched a military incursion into northern Syria, codenaming it Operation Peace Spring, with the Turkish Armed Forces and the Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army carrying it out. Erdogan’s military campaign kicked off with airstrikes on the positions of the previously US-backed Kurdish units.
The Erdogan government claimed that its goal is to clear the border area of what it calls ‘terrorists’ (Turkey’s broad label of the Kurdish forces) and establish a 30 km-long buffer zone in Syria’s north, where over 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey would resettle. Ankara’s incursion into Syria has triggered an outcry in the region and across the world. The Syrian SANA news agency branded the operation as an act of aggression, while the international community condemned Erdogan’s military operation.
On October 22, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a memorandum on joint actions in northeastern Syria.
According to the document, as of noon October 23, Russian military police and Syrian border guards have started to monitor the withdrawal of Kurdish military formations to the depth of 30 km from the border. Russia and Turkey will begin the joint patrolling of the area 150 hours later.
On the outcomes of the agreement, Ankara stated that it had suspended its large-scale military operation in the area. However, Turkey retains control over the territories where it plans to relocate Syrian refugees in the future.