Erdogan
Turkey's President Erdogan says European countries 'also have their obligations' towards helping migrants.Getty Images

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Europe to accept more migrants from across the Mediterranean.

Claiming that his country has given refuge to over two million migrants and refugees, Erdogan told reporters on Wednesday (13 May) that European countries, "also have their obligations and everyone should do their duty."

"Turkey has spent $5.6bn [£3.6m] on hosting and taking care of more than 1.7m Syrians and some 300,000 Iraqi nationals accommodated in refugee camps or in different Turkish cities," said Erdogan, reported AFP News.

"We all witnessed how immigrants were dying in the Mediterranean or elsewhere, and we clearly saw Europe's attitude towards them.

"Can we remain insensitive towards those poor and homeless people? Shouldn't the developed countries offer them a solution?"

Europe to accept 20,000 migrants

The European Union's executive on 13 May proposed allowing some 20,000 migrants to find shelter across Europe over a period of two years.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted following the proposal saying: "No country should be left alone to address huge migratory pressures."

While Italy, Germany and Austria are looking for EU to help them in dealing with the migrants' influx, Britain, Ireland and Denmark remain in opposition.

British Home Secretary Theresa May has strongly opposed accepting migrants rescued from the Mediterranean and said they should be forcibly returned.

"I disagree with the suggestion by the EU's high representative Federica Mogherini that 'no migrants' intercepted at sea should be 'sent back against their will'," said May.

"Such an approach would only act as an increased pull factor across the Mediterranean — and encourage more people to put their lives at risk."

According to the UNHCR, an estimated 1,800 migrants have died in the Mediterranean while trying to flee war in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.