Erdogan threatens to open Turkey’s borders to Europe in protest at EU

Erdogan threatens to open Turkey’s borders to Europe in protest at EU, by Zia Weise.

Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to throw open his country’s gates for migrants and refugees after the European Parliament voted to suspend EU membership negotiations with Ankara.

“If you go any further, these border gates will be opened. Neither me nor my people will be affected by these empty threats,” Mr Erdogan said at a women’s justice congress in Istanbul on Friday, raising the rhetorical stakes with the EU.

Is that a threat? Yes.

The harsh words reflect mounting tensions between the EU and Turkey following Mr Erdogan’s crackdown on civil society following July’s coup which has led to widespread purges of opponents in the army, police, judiciary and media. …

On Thursday … [European] MEPs approved a motion calling on the European Commission and member states’ governments to freeze Turkey’s accession process in response to the Turkish government’s “disproportionate” reaction to this summer’s failed coup.

Amid an already deteriorating environment for free speech, the Turkish government has suspended more than 100,000 civil servants, arrested tens of thousands — including journalists, MPs, judges and lawyers — and shut hundreds of associations, NGOs and newspapers since July.

hat-tip Stephen Neil