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Turkey’s Erdogan heading to Brussels to discuss refugee crisis

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is due to hold talks with senior European Union officials in Brussels over a refugee crisis unfolding at the Turkish-Greek border, as Germany said the bloc was considering taking in 1,500 child refugees.

Tens of thousands of asylum-seekers have been trying to break through the land border between Turkey and Greece for days after Ankara announced it would no longer prevent people from trying to cross into the EU.

Turkey, which hosts approximately four million mostly Syrian refugees, has repeatedly railed against what it describes as unfair burden-sharing following a 2016 with the bloc to halt the influx of refugees into Europe.

Erdogan on Sunday called on Greece to “open the gates” to the refugees after Greek police used tear gas and water cannon in skirmishes with crowds at the border.

“I hope I will return from Belgium with different outcomes,” he said at a speech in Istanbul.

Early on Monday, Germany said the EU was considering taking in up to 1,500 refugee children who are currently housed in Greek camps.

“A humanitarian solution is being negotiated at the European level for a ‘coalition of the willing’ to take in these children,” the government said in a statement.

Criticising Ankara, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said “negotiating on the backs of the weakest” would not yield the desired result.

“If there is a shortage of money for providing essential humanitarian aid to refugees, whether in Turkey, Idlib or Jordan and Lebanon, we (the EU) will never refuse to talk,” Maas told Funke newspapers on Sunday. “But that depends on Turkey sticking to its side of the bargain.”

Barend Leyts, spokesman for European Council President Charles Michel, posted on Twitter that the Erdogan will meet Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to discuss “migration, security, stability in the region and the crisis in Syria”.

Source: Al Jazeera

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