EPP’s Weber warns Erdoğan over threat to unleash migrants on Europe

The Chairman of the conservative majority in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber, has warned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over exerting pressure on the EU after Turkey’s strongman called on Europe to share the refugee burden or face a new wave of migrants.

"We cannot accept blackmailing” Deutsche Welle Turkish quoted Weber as telling German newspaper Welt am Sonntag on Sunday."Turkey should know this.” 

Weber’s warning follows statements earlier this month by Erdoğan to "open the gates" to a new wave of refugees into Europe unless Turkey is given international support and a safe zone is set up in northern Syria. 

"If they do not give us the necessary support in this struggle, then we will not be able to stop the 3.65 million refugees from Syria and another 2 million people who will reach our borders from Idlib," Erdogan said during a rally in eastern Turkey earlier this month.

Turkey is home to 3.6 million refugees.

Weber also said he was in favour of EU aid provided to Turkey for refugees to be extended beyond 2019, Deutsche Welle Turkish said.

The EU-Turkey refugee deal, which came into effect on March 2016, aimed to cut the influx of Syrian refugees arriving in Greece. According to the deal, the EU promised the allocation of 3 billion euro in aid to Turkey to help migrants. The deal also included the end of visa restrictions applied to Turkish citizens when travelling to Europe as of June 2016, yet the visa restrictions still remain.