Hungary Warns 'Force Will Be Used to Protect Border' if Turkey Weaponizes Migrants
Turkish President Erdogan threatens to 'open the gates' and 'flood' Europe with migrants
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has vowed to "use force" to protect Hungary's border after Turkish President Erdogan threatened to "open the gates" and release Turkey's migrant population to "flood" Europe.
Last week, Erdogan issued a threat to send all 3.6 million migrants living in Turkey into other European countries if the Turkish invasion of Syria is referred to as an “occupation.”
Orbán has now responded with a promise to defend the Hungarian southern border to protect the European Union from the flow of migrants who will use Hungary as a gateway to the rest of Europe.
“If Turkey sets off further hundreds of thousands on top of (existing migrant flows), then we will need to use force to protect the Hungarian border and the Serbian-Hungarian frontier and I do not wish for anyone that we should need to resort to that,” Orbán warned.
Orbán built a steel barrier on Hungary’s southern border with Serbia in 2015 to put an end to the Balkan migration route.
Previously, hundreds of thousands of third-world migrants used the route to make their way to Western Europe from the Middle East via Hungary during the migrant crisis.
Turkey is now piling pressure on the European Union.
Erdogan and his government have continually threatened to flood Europe with Turkey's population of nearly 4 million Middle Eastern migrants.
In August, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu issued a warning to EU member states, saying: “We are facing the biggest wave of migration in history.
"If we open the floodgates, no European government will be able to survive for more than six months. We advise them not to try our patience.”
Following widespread criticism last week, from various EU member states, of Turkey’s military incursion into northeast Syria, Erdogan once again threated to "open the gates."
“We will open the gates and send 3.6 million refugees your way,” Erdogan warned during a speech to Turkish lawmakers.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has responded to Turkey’s threats by urging NATO to increase its naval patrols in the Aegean Sea to prevent a rush of illegal migrants landing in Greece.
Speaking with Hungarian state media this week, Orbán said: “The next weeks will decide what Turkey does with these people.
“It can steer them in two directions: take them back to Syria or set them off towards Europe."
Turkey's President Erdogan is due to visit Budapest early next month.