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Turkey warns EU of millions more refugees leaving Syria

Tens of thousands of Syrians have entered the EU via Greece this year [Getty]

Date of publication: 6 October, 2015

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Turkey has warned the European Union that three million more refugees could flee fighting in Syria, as Erdogan seeks backing for the creation of a safe haven and no-fly zone.

Turkey has warned the European Union that three million more refugees could flee fighting in Syria as the European Union [EU] struggles to manage its biggest migration emergency in decades.

Around two million refugees from Syria are currently in Turkey, and tens of thousands of others have entered the EU via Greece this year, overwhelming coast guards and reception facilities.

EU Council President Donald Tusk told lawmakers Tuesday that "according to Turkish estimates, another three million potential refugees may come from Aleppo and its neighbourhood."

"Today millions of potential refugees and migrants are dreaming about Europe," Tusk said at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

He warned that "the world around us does not intend to help Europe" and that some of the EU's neighbours "look with satisfaction at our troubles."

Tusk also lashed out at countries for failing to fully respect EU asylum and border rules, naming Hungary, Italy, Slovakia and Greece.

"We have to respect commonly agreed rules," he said, adding that when countries say they intend to flout the laws "they undermine the essence of solidarity and our community."



Erdogan's plan to cooperate on migration

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held urgent talks on the migration crisis and the Syrian war that is producing so many of the refugees with senior officials in Brussels on Monday.

Erdogan has sought European backing for the creation of a safe haven and no-fly zone in northern Syria, saying that such moves are key to ending the refugee crisis.

"The root cause of the refugee crisis today is the war that has been taking place in Syria and the state-sponsored terror actions which have been carried out by Assad himself," Erdogan said.

He raised the issue of "a safe zone that would be protected from terrorism" and "a no-fly zone" in talks with senior European Union officials in Brussels, but the EU believes the United Nations is the best forum for discussing them.

Tusk said Europe stands ready to help Ankara with financial assistance, border and security resources and the possibility of easing visa requirements for Turkish citizens.

But Tusk said that "Turkey needs to be equally ready to act. The situations where hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing to the EU via Turkey must be stopped."

The European Commission hopes to generate around one billion euros [$1.12 billion] in European funds to help lessen the impact of refugee arrivals on Turkey, which is a candidate for EU membership.

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