"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

President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a joint press conference held with Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borisov (not seen) following an inter-delegation meeting in Ankara, Turkey on March 2, 2020.
President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a joint press conference held with Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borisov (not seen) following an inter-delegation meeting in Ankara, Turkey on March 2, 2020. (Mehmet Ali Ozcan / AA)

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

"They tell us, 'we will send you a billion euros.' Who are you trying to fool? ... We don't want this money," Erdogan said after receiving Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov at the presidential complex in Ankara, where they discussed the ongoing situation of refugees from Syria.

Erdogan said Turkey rejected Europe's offer of €1 billion in refugee aid because Ankara had already spent $40 billion and would find a way to earn that money.

The European Union 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 European Union.

EU interior ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner.

Over 110,000 of refugees and migrants are now massed on Turkey's border with Greece, which is taking draconian steps to prevent people from entering.

Erdogan said "Greek soldiers" had killed two refugees and seriously injuring a third.

The president called on European Council President Charles Michel, who had visited the Turkish-Greek border, to also watch what the Greek Coast Guard does in the Aegean Sea adding that Athens has no respect for international migration law.

Erdogan also criticised the EU for not "sharing the burden" with Turkey, which is trying to hold off another mass influx from Syria where regime forces, backed by Russian air power, are advancing into Idlib.

The European Union and world public opinion do not understand the situation of Turkey, which already hosts more than 4 million refugees, President Erdogan said.

The Turkish president noted that the EU had not fully met the requirements under the March 18, 2016 EU-Turkey refugee deal and expectations on responsibility sharing remained unanswered.

Supporting Erdogan in his speech, Borisov said no one understands the depth of the crisis on the Turkish-Greek border.

He said he did not understand why funds the EU had pledged for irregular migrants were not given to Turkey because one of the EU's main policies is burden sharing.

Erdogan-Merkel phone call

Turkey's President Erdogan also urged Europe on Monday to take a "fair share of the burden" in helping migrants and refugees, during a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel over the phone.

During the phone call two leaders discussed regional issues, Idlib as well as refugee crises and bilateral relations.

Source: AFP