Europe simultaneously hates and wants Turkey’s Erdoğan - Bashar Assad

Turkey and Europe have a love and hate relationship with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Syrian President Bashar Assad said in an interview with Russia Today on Saturday, while accusing Europe of hypocrisy over fears related to Syrian refugees.

Erdoğan has repeatedly threatened the European Union with Turkey opening borders and allow some 3.6 Syrian refugees in the country to enter into Europe as a response to EU countries’ criticism against Turkey’s military operation in Syria targeting Kurdish forces.

Assad said the primary concern of Europe should not be Syrian refugees, but the jihadi fighters Europe has aligned itself with in Syria. 

“How can you fear those few millions, the majority of them are moderates and they have few terrorists, while you support those terrorists directly in tens of thousands at least and maybe hundreds of thousands in Syria and you don’t fear that they’re going to go back to your country,” RT quoted Assad as saying. 

The Turkish offensive has sparked fears of the resurgence of the Islamic State (ISIS), whose tens of thousands of members are being kept in camps scattered throughout northern Syria previously controlled by Kurdish forces.

He said that although the EU hated the Turkish leader, it continued to listen to Erdoğan.

“Actually, the relation between Erdogan and the EU is two ways: they hate him but they want him,” Assad said.