Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at the European Union on Thursday for its criticism of Ankara’s Operation Peace Spring, threatening to send 3.6 million refugees to Europe if Turkey's operation is called an ‘invasion’.
"Hey, the European Union, get a grip on yourself! If you attempt to call our operation an ‘invasion’, we will simply open our border-crossing points and send 3.6 million refugees to you," the president said in a speech broadcast by nationwide NTV television, TASS reports.
Erdogan came out with similar threats on September 5, urging the European Union to support Ankara’s bid to set up a security zone in Syria.
He also dubbed as ‘absurd’ the position of Egypt, which on Wednesday said that any Turkish operation in Syria was unlawful, adding that Egypt "has no right whatsoever to criticize" the Turkish operation.
"He [Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi] himself is a killer of democracy in his country," Erdogan stressed.
On October 9, Ankara announced launching Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria, which began with airstrikes on Kurdish positions. The operation’s goal is to create a buffer zone along the Turkish border, where, according to Ankara, Syrian refugees residing in Turkey could return. Syria’s state agency SANA slammed the operation as aggression.
The international community condemned Ankara’s actions. The United Kingdom, Germany and France requested a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the situation.