Turkey’s interior minister veiled extortion towards EU using migrant flows

“If Turkey does not bear this issue [of irregular migrants] with determination, no government in Europe will be able to withstand this wave for more than six months,” Turkey’s interior minister Suleyman Soylu said on Saturday.

Soylu said those who want to turn Turkey into a center for irregular migrants will eventually pay a price for this indifference.

“It is not enough to pat Turkey’s back. They will criticize Turkey from their seats in the European Parliament and behave like leftists from 300 years back,” he said.

Turkey has been the main route for irregular migrants trying to cross to Europe, especially since 2011, the start of the Syrian civil war which has seen more than 10 million people displaced, according to UN figures.

Ankara has accused the EU of failing to fulfill its obligations under a 2016 deal aiming to discourage irregular migration to Europe via the Aegean Sea.

The deal included a €6-billion ($6.8-billion) aid package to help Turkey care for millions of refugees in the country. However, Turkey has so far received only a part of the committed amount.