Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatened Thursday that his country could “just open the gates and send 3.6 million Syrian refugees into Europe” if the European Union classifies his military’s ongoing assault on Syria as an “invasion”.
Erdogan, in a speech to ruling party officials in Ankara, also announced that Operation Peace Spring so far has killed more than 100 Kurdish fighters in northern Syria, whom Turkey views as terrorists allied with a Kurdish insurgency within its borders.
“Hey European Union, if you call this operation… an invasion, then we could just open the gates and send 3.6 million Syrian refugees into Europe,” the Middle East Eye quoted Erdogan as saying.
But Thursday was not the first time Erdogan made this threat.
In early September, Erdogan told the same group of politicians that he would be forced to “open the gates” and allow a route for Syrian refugees to travel into Western Europe unless a deal was reached with the U.S. by the end of the month to help resettle some migrants in a so-called “safe zone” within Syria.