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Turkey must play more active role to contain refugee influx: EU

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) is welcomed by European Council President Donald Tusk at the European Council in Brussels, October 5, 2015. (Photo by AFP)

The European Union (EU) has called on Turkey to make more efforts to prevent the flow of thousands of refugees who are using Turkish territories to gain entry to Europe.

EU President Donald Tusk asked Ankara to take action in containing the recent influx of refugees into Europe on Monday, saying, “It is indisputable that Europe has to manage its borders better. We expect Turkey to do the same.”

The comments came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed, during a Monday visit to the Belgian capital, Brussels, that his country was bearing the brunt of the refugee crisis and asked the EU to help Ankara handle the situation.

Thousands of people fleeing war and violence, mostly from neighboring Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, have been entering Turkey and moving to European countries by sea this year.

Turkey says it has so far received some two million refugees escaping the foreign-backed militancy in neighboring Syria and Iraq.

The refugee crisis in Europe, which mainly stems from the crisis in Syria, comes as Ankara has widely been viewed as a major supporter of the militant groups in the Arab country since militancy began there in March 2011.

A photo taken on October 5, 2015 shows refugees in a field on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey, October 5, 2015. (Photo by AFP)


Earlier this week, Fabrice Leggeri, the head of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the EU (Frontex), said about 630,000 refugees have been registered as illegally entering EU member states since the start of the year.

Leggeri called for the deployment of some 775 extra border guards at the EU borders.

Ankara and Brussels have also discussed a European Commission plan aimed at seeing Turkey join Greek coastguard patrols in the eastern Aegean, coordinated by Frontex.

The EU earlier announced that it would offer up to one billion euros (1.1 billion dollars) in aid in order to help the countries receiving refugees.

Ankara has also been pressured by the EU to tackle some 30,000 people smugglers estimated to be operating in the country.

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