Brussels, 24 Dhulhijjah 1436/8 October 2015 (MINA) – Turkey has warned the European Union that three million more refugees could flee fighting in Syria as the EU struggles to manage its biggest migration emergency in decades, according to media reports.
Around two million refugees from Syria are currently in Turkey, and tens of thousands of others have entered the EU via Greece this year, overwhelming coast guards and reception facilities.
EU Council President Donald Tusk told lawmakers Tuesday that “according to Turkish estimates, another 3 million potential refugees may come from Aleppo and its neighborhood.”
“Today millions of potential refugees and migrants are dreaming about Europe,” Tusk said at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, International Islamic News Agency (IINA) quouted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
He warned that “the world around us does not intend to help Europe” and that some of the EU’s neighbors “look with satisfaction at our troubles.”
Tusk also lashed out at countries for failing to fully respect EU asylum and border rules, naming Hungary, Italy, Slovakia and Greece.
“We have to respect commonly agreed rules,” he said, adding that when countries say they intend to flout the laws “they undermine the essence of solidarity and our community.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks with senior officials in Brussels on Monday, and the EU’s executive Commission was due to unveil later Tuesday a memorandum detailing the way the bloc and Turkey plan to cooperate on migration.
Erdogan has sought European backing for the creation of a safe haven and no-fly zone in northern Syria, saying that such moves are key to ending the refugee crisis.
Meanwhile, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann is heading to the eastern Aegean island of Lesbos with Greece’s prime minister to view the impact of the refugee crisis and tour the facilities set up to handle the new arrivals.
Faymann and Greece’s Alexis Tsipras are due on Lesbos around mid-day Monday and are to tour the reception center set up to register and process refugees and migrants.
About 400,000 people have arrived in Greece so far this year, most in small overcrowded boats from the nearby Turkish coast.
The vast majority don’t want to stay in the financially troubled country and head north through the Balkans to more prosperous EU states.
The EU is to publish a crisis plan with Turkey aimed at dealing with the flow of migrants into the bloc, a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held talks in Brussels.
European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said he had thrashed out details of the plan, which will be published at 1300 GMT, during his talks with Erdogan. “It is clear that we need Turkey.
The Commission will come to its aid,” Juncker told the European Parliament in Strasbourg after hailing Ankara for having admitted 2.2 million refugees from the war in Syria.
“The European Union and Turkey must work together, develop an asylum policy and help the unlucky ones who come to us,” Juncker said.
An EU source said Juncker and Erdogan “agreed on the principle of having a joint action plan on enhancing cooperation on migration” that would be ready for a new EU summit next week aimed at tackling the worst refugee crisis since World War II.
The pair discussed, for example, ways to make it easier for Turks to get European visas in return for better Turkish management of the borders with Europe, the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The source said Brussels will study providing additional financing to Turkey beyond the one billion euros ($1.1 billion) Juncker’s commission has pledged and which EU leaders promised to match at an emergency summit last month.
“If they (the Turks) agree to build more reception centers (for refugees), we can look into helping to fund them,” the EU source said.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and EU enlargement commission Johannes Hahn joined the Juncker-Erdogan talks to discuss Turkey’s controversial calls for a safe zone in northern Syria where refugees could take shelter from the bloody conflict.
Critics say Turkey appears to be pushing the idea because it fears gains by Kurdish rebels along the border would bolster Kurds seeking their own homeland in eastern Turkey.
“Officials from the commission, the executive of the 28-nation bloc, will follow up on the plan with a visit to Turkey on Wednesday”, the source said.
Migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos will travel to Turkey next week.
European Council President Donald Tusk told the parliament that Erdogan, a fierce opponent of President Bashar al-Assad, informed him that millions more refugees would flee Syria if Assad wins the four-year civil war. (T/Imt/R03)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)