Turkey is not bluffing about opening the borders to Europe for refugees, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Friday, a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said it would “open the gates” to migrants unless it receives more international support and a “safe zone” is created in northern Syria.
“The statement of our president is neither a threat nor a bluff,” Oktay told reporters on the sidelines of a business forum in Cernobbio, Italy. Turkey will not “pay the bill” for crises created by other countries, he added.
As Turkey hardens its stance, Greece has seen a sharp increase in arrivals of undocumented migrants on the Aegean islands. Samos coast guard officers on Friday intercepted a vessel carrying 13 undocumented migrants off the island’s northeastern coast.
The officers also discovered the body of a 65-year-old woman, who fellow migrants said died during the crossing from Turkey, apparently of a pre-existing medical condition.