Erdogan condemns EU for leaving migrants 'to their deaths'

AFP , Wednesday 22 Apr 2015

Turkish President Erdogan (Photo:AP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday accused EU states of leaving migrants "to their deaths" after a succession of deadly disasters that have cost hundreds of lives.

His comments came as European governments, under mounting pressure to act decisively on the growing Mediterranean migrant crisis, were to hold an emergency summit on the issue Thursday.

"If these people seek refuge in European countries after somehow fleeing their home countries then how can an approach of letting the boats sink and leaving them to their deaths be adopted," Erdogan said in televised comments.

"I condemn the West's approach. There cannot be such an approach," he said at a news conference alongside Iraqi President Fuad Masum.

He said that Turkey was hosting almost two million refugees from the Syria crisis "because it considers this a humanitarian responsibility."

Turkey has repeatedly accused the EU and the West of not doing its fair share to help Syrians and other migrants, leaving Ankara with a multi-billion dollar financial burden on the issue.

EU governments have already agreed to double the resources available to a maritime border patrol mission, but that has been attacked as too little, too late by refugee and rights groups.

The crisis has come to a head after 800 people are feared to have died in appalling circumstances off the coast of Libya on Sunday.

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