İrem UZUN -TDO- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he will hold talks in Brussels as he called on Greece to "open the gates" for refugees at Turkey's border trying to get into Europe. "I will have a meeting with the European Union officials on Monday in Belgium," Erdogan said during a speech in Istanbul on Sunday. He added that he would discuss the migration issue after Turkey opened its borders. "I hope I will return from Belgium with different outcomes," he added.
Tens of thousands of migrants have been trying to get into Greece, an EU member state, since Turkey said on February 28 it would no longer try to keep them on its territory as agreed in 2016 with the EU in return for billions of euros in aid. Turkey hosts about 5 million war refugees from Syria, where its troops and allied rebel forces are battling Russian-backed government forces and says the EU has failed to honor promises made to Ankara. “We have fulfilled the obligations of the agreement we have made with the EU. However, the EU did not fulfil its commitments except for minimal contributions ...I hope we will achieve different results this time,” Erdogan said.
According to the 2016 deal, the EU was supposed to provide Turkey with some $6.8 billion to finance housing and education of migrants, however Ankara says it has not received the money. On Saturday, officials from Ankara announced they would no longer allow migrants to reach Greece through the Aegean Sea because of safety concerns. But it has put no similar restrictions on its land borders with Bulgaria and Greece, where days of clashes between migrants and Greek border guards are exacerbating tensions.