Turkey has been left alone to deal with the refugee flow from war-torn Syria and it may have to open the doors to Europe if it does not receive the necessary assistance from the international community if the planned safe zone inside Syria is not established soon, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said.
Speaking to the members of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) on Thursday, Erdoğan said Turkey is determined to actively establish the safe zone east of the Euphrates River by the end of September.
"Our goal is to resettle at least 1 million Syrian refugees in the safe zone that we will establish along the 450-kilometer border line," Erdoğan said, as he highlighted that Turkey is currently taking care of over 3.6 million refugees and has not received the help from the European Union.
"We will be forced to open the gates. We cannot be forced to handle the burden alone," he said.
Turkey has welcomed millions of people escaping the Syrian conflict since 2011, spending over $37 billion worth of resources for them
Ankara repeatedly calls the European Union to fulfill its promise of over 3 billion euros in aid for Syrian refugees. A deal between Turkey and the European Union stipulates that the European Union will allocate "3+3 billion euros in aid" for the care of refugees in Turkey. Turkey says only 850 million euros were delivered so far.
On Aug. 7, Turkish and U.S. military officials agreed to set up a safe zone and develop a peace corridor running from the Euphrates River to the Iraqi border to facilitate the return of displaced Syrians currently living in Turkey to their home country and provide security for Turkish border settlements and military outposts. They also agreed to establish a joint operations center.