Turkey’s Europe minister has said Germany’s Angel Merkel is the “only European leader that has the correct diagnosis” on the migration crisis.
Turkish Minister for European Affairs Volkan Bozkir was speaking at an Istanbul-based Turkish-German university on Thursday where he quoted Merkel as saying “migration cannot be prevented, and should not be”.
“Merkel’s thought is the only appropriate description in accordance with European values … it should be an example for all Europe,” Bozkir told students.
However, the minister criticized European countries which were reinforcing their borders.
“If you build a wall, thousands of people will die from cold on the other side of it,” Bozkir said.
He said the EU had never attached importance to Syrian migrants until their numbers reached into the millions.
He argued that taking measures within the EU, for instance border controls, would not solve the problem.
“Migration flows will not stop if the Syrian problem cannot be ended”, Bozkir said.
While Bozkir was describing Turkey’s efforts on its Syrian guests” -- such as around an estimated 200,000 Syrian children who are studying here -- he expressed his disappointment that some EU countries have agreed to settle just 1,000 refugees.
The EU minister said that Turkey had historically always opened its borders to people in need.
Turkey hosted nearly 500,000 Iraqis who fled Saddam Hussein’s regime in 1998 and 350,000 ethnic Turks who left Bulgaria in 1989, Bozkir underlined.