Turkey urges Europe to not build walls against refugees
Europe should be open, safe and provide fair ways to migrants instead of isolating them: Omer Celik
Turkey's Minister for EU Affairs Omer Celik on Thursday criticized Europe for creating barriers against asylum seekers instead of welcoming them.
In a series of posts on his official Twitter account, the minister said among all other states, "Turkey is the only country which strongly embraces those who flee death.
"Europe should not build walls against migrants but build bridges for them. This is a test of humanity."
About a recent jail sentence handed out to a French farmer who helped asylum seekers, the minister said there had been several such instances in Europe when those willing to help migrants were prevented from doing so.
He also pointed to the maltreatment of migrants at the Calais refugee camp in France.
About the remarks of Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, who urged his Italian counterpart to not allow migrants arriving by boat illegally to Italy's islands to travel on to the mainland, Celik said: "There are still countries which close their borders with fences and armed forces. They are turning their backs on people who flee death.
"Europe should be open, safe and provide fair ways to migrants instead of isolating them. The refugee issue should be something to be managed, not something to be fought against."
The minister said there were only a few countries, including Turkey that were doing their best to tackle the refugee issue.
"Turkey, while trying to discharge its moral and political responsibility [on refugees], could not see Europe as a strong partner.
“And similarly, it did not get any strong support from the Islamic world and elsewhere."
Turkey hosts more Syrian refugees than any other country in the world. The country has spent around $25 billion helping and sheltering refugees since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.