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Turkey rejects 1 billion euro migrant aid off from EU

Erdogan is not accepting EU aid [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 March, 2020

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Turkey has rejected EU migrant aid worth of 1 billion euros to help deal with four million refugees.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that he had rejected an EU offer of an additional one billion euros to help deal with the roughly four million refugees it hosts.

"They tell us, 'we will send you a billion euros.' Who are you trying to fool... We don't want this money," Erdogan said at a news conference on Monday.

The EU voiced concern on Monday over the situation at the border with Greece days after Turkey said it had "opened its doors" to refugees and migrants to leave for the EU.

EU interior ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday, France's Christophe Castaner.

Thousands of migrants are now massed on Turkey's border with Greece, which is taking draconian steps to prevent people from entering the country.

Erdogan accused "Greek soldiers" of killing two migrants and seriously injuring a third, without elaborating on the circumstances.

Read more: Greek border guards kill Syrian refugee on Turkey border

Erdogan also criticised the EU for not "sharing the burden" with Turkey, which is trying to hold off another mass influx of refugees after Syria's bloody Assad regime, backed by Russia, conducts a mass assault against civilian areas in the embattled region of Idlib.

Turkey agreed in 2016 to stop refugees leaving for Europe in exchange for six billion euros in assistance, and the EU insists that Turkey must stick to the deal.

On Monday, the Turkish president reiterated an accusation that Ankara had received only a fraction of the promised aid, an allegation European leaders deny.

The decision to open Turkey's borders with the EU came as Erdogan sought Western support for his military drive against the brutal Syrian regime.

Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad lost huge swathes of the country following an armed uprising after the brutal repression of peaceful protesters in 2011.

According to UN figures, the Syria war has caused the greatest refugee crisis in the world, with at least 5.5 million people fleeing the country and more than 6 million more displaced inside Syria.

The UN estimated in 2018 that the war had caused nearly $400 billion in war-related destruction.

The Syrian war is considered to have caused the biggest wave of displacement since the Second World War, mostly due to regime and Russian bombing and shelling of civilian areas.

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