Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday that he would continue to flood migrants and refugees into Europe until European officials satisfied his demands, reported France 24.
Erdogan said Greece's treatment of migrants and refugees at the Greece–Turkey border is comparable to Nazi atrocities.
"There is no difference between what the Nazis did and those images from the Greek border," Erdogan said.
"Until all Turkey's expectations, including free movement ... updating of the customs union and financial assistance, are tangibly met, we will continue the practice on our borders," he told his AKP parliamentary group.
Turkish authorities over the last month have been facilitating refugee and migrant flows towards the border with Greece as Erdogan has made good on his promise to 'open the gates.' Erdogan views this move as a means to destabilize European governments and their economies in hopes Brussels would submit to his demands, including, more recently, greater assistance with the Syrian conflict.
Ankara has openly said its strategy is to push migrants from Syria to the European border and make sure they do not return. Turkey deployed 1,000 special operations police officers along the 124 mile stretch of the border to make sure migrants stay in Greece.
A video earlier this week showed Turkish special operations police using an armored vehicle with a rope to pull down a border fence, in an attempt to flood Greece with migrants. The outcome, however, was unsuccessful but outlined Ankara's dangerous attempt to unleash migrant hell on Europe.
Greece has shut its border with Turkey to avoid a migrant rush at the port of entries. Parts of its border with Turkey have been militarized; in anticipation, a crisis could soon develop as tens of thousands of people are awaiting entry.
"This is all a game. We just want someone to tell us what will happen."— Julia Hahn (@juliahahntv) March 1, 2020
Thousands of refugees & migrants have rushed to Turkey's border with Greece hoping to cross into Europe. It's freezing. They have no shelter, not enough food. 📽️Our report from Edirne: https://t.co/67fV0SQhrb pic.twitter.com/WQFk7Ym2Z5
Turkey is officially a terrorist state.— The Duke (@john_wayne_gr) March 2, 2020
Turkish authorities equip migrants with chemicals and guide them to the Greek border.
This is an invasion.#IStandWithGreece #Greece_under_attack pic.twitter.com/bNfvC9bKEJ
The Greek border police is torturing, humiliating and violating the refugees who crossed the river to Greece.— Asaad Hanna (@AsaadHannaa) March 6, 2020
The police tortured the civilians, took their clothes and sent them back to Turkey to suffer. pic.twitter.com/8hOxZYk1LV
Migrants try to remove fences during the clashes with Greek police, after they tried to pass on Greek side, on the buffer zone Turkey-Greece border in Edirne.— Aurelia BAILLY (@AureliaBAILLY) March 5, 2020
A picture by #AFP photographer @Kilicbil pic.twitter.com/qu7eDnrViS
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu was quoted last weekend as saying the next wave of migrants to flood Europe could reach one million, which would lead to a collapse of European governments and economies.
Turkey's Communications Directorate Fahrettin Altun criticized Greek authorities last week over the "ill-treatment of refugees."
Erdogan said Greek border guards have "opened fire on innocent people, exposing them to all kinds of inhumane treatment ... [It] is barbarism in the full sense of the word."
He added that "with the warming of the weather in the spring, the influx of irregular migrants heading to Europe will not be limited to Greece but spread all over the Mediterranean."
Turkey has approximately 4 million refugees within its borders, many of which are from Syria, as even more are expected to flood into the country as the situation in Idlib, Syria, continues to deteriorate.
As warmer weather approaches, tens of thousands of migrants and refugees are lining up along the Greece–Turkey border, with hundreds of thousands of others shortly behind them, is only a matter of time before a breach is seen, as increased migrant flows into Europe could be imminent.