Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that from now on Turkey will allow migrants to cross the border with Europe without hindrance.
He says he does that because the European Union would not help enough to defuse the refugee crisis.
According to Erdogan, as a result, 18,000 migrants were already crossing the border, a figure that is impossible to confirm. The Turkish President did not provide any evidence to support that claim.
A day earlier, Turkish officials had already indicated that they would no longer stop refugees who want to go to Europe.
Erdogan confirmed that change of course on Saturday and said that he would open the borders to Europe. “We’re not going to close the doors,” said Erdogan. He said to expect that between 25,000 and 30,000 migrants will enter Europe until Sunday.
Bulgaria denied Saturday that there were problems at its border after the country has stepped up controls.
“There is zero migration on our border with Turkey,” said Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. He also announced that he would be preparing “a big meeting” in Bulgaria, where Erdogan and EU representatives would be present.
Greece again reports that the Greek police used tear gas on Saturday to stop thousands of migrants trying to cross the border from Turkey. This happened at the border crossings of Kastanies and Pazarkule.
On the Turkish state television were images of refugees, including children, who crossed the river on the Turkish border town of Edirne with Greece. About three thousand people would have spent the night there, in the cold and rain.
The migration wave started again in recent weeks due to the violent violence in the Syrian province of Idlib. 34 Turkish soldiers were killed in an air strike. According to Ankara, the attack was carried out by the Syrian or Russian army.