Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has declared that Hungary would be forced to “use force” at its southern border to protect the European Union if Turkish President Erdogan makes good on his promise to ‘open the gates’ and ‘flood’ Europe with migrants.
“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 said.
In 2015, Orbán built a steel barrier on Hungary’s southern border with Serbia to put an end to the Balkan migration route after hundreds of thousands of third-world migrants made their way to Western Europe from the Middle East during the migrant crisis.
Turkey is now holding a gun to the EU’s head. Erdogan and other top officials have continually threatened to flood Europe with the nearly 4 million Middle Eastern migrants currently held up in Turkey.
In August, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said, “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.”
And last week, following widespread criticism of Turkey’s military incursion into northeast Syria from various EU member states, Erdogan once again threated to ‘open the gates’.
“We will open the gates and send 3.6 million refugees your way,” Erdogan said during a speech to Turkish lawmakers.
Following Turkey’s threats, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis urged NATO to increase its naval patrols in the Aegean Sea to prevent an onslaught of illegal migrants landing in Greece.
This week, during an interview with Hungarian state media, 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.
Turkish President Erdogan is set to visit Budapest early next month.