Fri, Dec 9, 2016 | updated 01:17 PM IST

Turkish Prez threatens to open borders to migrants seeking entry in EU

Updated: Nov 25, 2016 16:22 IST

Istanbul [Turkey], Nov. 25 (ANI): Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday threatened to throw open the country's borders to illegal migrants after the European Parliament voted to back a freeze in membership talks with Ankara for entry in the bloc.

"Listen to me. If you go any further, then the frontiers will be opened, bear that in mind," Erdogan told the European Union (EU) in a speech in Istanbul.

On March 18, Ankara and Brussels forged a deal for Turkey to halt the flow of migrants to Europe, where the former agreed to step up maritime and land border controls in exchange for incentives on its long-stalled membership bid, including visa-free travel for its citizens and an acceleration of accession talks, reports the Times of Israel.

The accord has largely been successful in reducing immigrants crossing the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece.

However, with an October target passing and no apparent progress on the visa issue and accession talks too stalled, Ankara has stepped up accusations that Brussels was not keeping its promises.

The latest setback was the vote on Thursday by the European Parliament to freeze membership talks, a move prompted by alarm over Turkey's crackdown after an attempted military coup.

The resolution is, however, non-binding and has not been backed by the European Commission or almost any member states.

Erdogan said the EU had cried out for help in 2015, as tens of thousands of migrants massed at the border crossing with EU member Bulgaria.

Around one million migrants from poverty-stricken countries and refugees from wars crossed into Europe in 2015, raising fears of a social crisis in the EU. (ANI)