Turkey Reportedly Threatened to Open to Migrants Its Border with EU

European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker (R) speaks to the media as he welcomes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the EU Commission in Brussels, Belgium, 05 October 2015. EPA/BGNES

A Greek website claims that Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened last year to open to migrants Turkey's border with the EU if the bloc didn't  offer him a better deal to tackle the migrant influx into Europe, Reuters has reported.

The euro2day.gr financial news website had published on Monday what it claimed were minutes of a tense meeting between Erdogan, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk, Reuters said. At the meeting, which appears to have taken place last November in Antalya, Turkey, the two top EU officials were trying to win Ankara's support for stemming an influx of Syrian refugees and migrants into Europe.

"We can open the doors to Greece and Bulgaria anytime and we can put the refugees on buses ... So how will you deal with refugees if you don't get a deal? Kill the refugees?" Erdogan was quoted in the text as telling Tusk and Juncker.

The account of the meeting, in English, was produced in facsimile on the euro2day.gr website.

When Erdogan demanded EUR 6 B over two years, Juncker made clear that only EUR 3 B was on offer. Then Erdogan said that Ankara didn't need the EU's money anyway, according to Reuters.

The two sides eventually agreed in November 2015 that Turkey would get some EUR 3 B in funding, visa liberalization with the EU, and the prospect of having EU membership talks renewed.  In return, Ankara would have to stem the flow of migrants trying to cross from Turkey into the neighboring countries of Southeastern Europe.

The European Council and the European Commission had declined to confirm or deny the authenticity of the document, and Erdogan's office had offered no immediate comment, Reuters said.

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