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Turkey's Erdogan threatened EU with flood of refugees: Leaked report

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)
Refugees disembark from the passenger ferry Blue Star arriving from the island of Lesbos at the port of Piraeus on January 31, 2016 in Athens. (AFP)

A newly leaked report has revealed that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had threatened EU leaders with a flood of refugees unless Ankara was offered better funding to deal with the ongoing crisis.

On Monday, the financial news website published what it claimed to be minutes of a November meeting between Erdogan, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and EU President Donald Tusk.

The report does not state the exact date of the meeting but, according to Reuters, it was probably held on November 16, 2015 in Antalya on the sidelines of a G20 summit.

During the meeting, the EU officials were attempting to gain Turkey’s support for stemming the flow of Syrian asylum seekers pouring towards Europe, most of whom arrive in Europe after crossing the sea between Turkey and Greek islands.

"We can open the doors to Greece and Bulgaria anytime and we can put the refugees on buses... So how will you deal with migrants if you don't get a deal? Kill the refugees?" Erdogan was quoted as saying.

He also demanded some six billion euros over two years. When the amount was denied by Juncker, Erdogan said that his country did not need the money anyway.

In the end, Turkey settled for three billion euros, earmarked for improving asylum seekers’ living conditions, revival of the country’s accession talks, and acceleration of visa-free travel for Turkish nationals in exchange for curtailing the number of refugees entering Greece.

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