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Turkey’s Erdogan continues to withstand EU pressure to close border

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to resist pressure from the European Union (EU) states to stop the flow of refugees through his country’s borders with Greece, but has announced plans for the convention of a summit with European leaders next week to seek a solution to the crisis.

According to Press TV, Erdogan told reporters on his plane back to Turkey on Tuesday after discussing the refugee crisis in Brussels with top EU officials “We are not thinking of closing these gates. Our proposal to Greece is to open the gates. These people won’t stay in Greece. Let them cross from Greece into other European countries.”

Calling for a “just, humane sharing” of the refugee burden, the Turkish president said he would hold a summit on the issue with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and possibly British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Istanbul on March 17.

Erdogan also said he had stressed during talks in Brussels the need to update both the 2016 refugee deal between Ankara and the EU and to revive Turkey’s stalled EU accession process.

“The EU leaders accepted that Turkey had fulfilled its responsibilities under the March 18 (2016) agreement and that the EU had acted slowly,” he said.

Erdogan left meetings with EU and NATO leaders in Brussels late on Monday without issuing a joint statement or appearing at a joint press conference, as had been planned.