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 The European Union should not bow to the threats of Turkey, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said.

He believes that Ankara should immediately cease hostilities in northern Syria, Reuters reported.

“The EU cannot accept this blackmail. Turkish efforts to welcome in Syrian refugees cannot then become a tool of blackmail for a military initiative that we cannot accept and which must immediately stop,” Conte told reporters.

Turkey, which is still formally seeking accession to the European Union, despite growing criticism from the EU regarding the human rights situation, has been criticized by the EU for its invasion of northern Syria.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called on the EU to “pull itself together” and threatened that if the EU declares the operation an invasion, this will “open the gate and send 3.6 million refugees” to Europe.

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