Turkey blackmails the EU with the migration crisis

by Enrico Oliari

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues in his policy of exploiting migrants and refugees to checkmate the European Union denouncing the lack of political and material support for his very personal invasion to Syria. Due to the reopening of the Turkish borders with Greece, a huge number of refugees and migrants might come to Europe significantly affecting the current situation of the EU countries which are facing the problem of coronavirus.

After the Turkish authorities have reopened the borders and the police forces pushed migrants to the west the situation on the Greek borders has become serious. In fact, at least 13 thousand among Syrian refugees and Pakistani, Somali, Bangladeshi migrants are trying to enter into the territory of the European Union and seeking asylum.

Erdogan decided to reopen the borders despite the 2016 agreement signed with Brussels which grants Turkey with 6 billion euro for the management of the migrants emergency in the country. Also, this agreement was the first step for restarting the abolition of the visa regime for Turkish citizens going to the European Union.

Brussels signed this agreement even though the European public opinion was against the Neo-Ottomanism policy pursued by the Turkish President Erdogan as well as the relations between Ankara and the Islamic State as documented by the Russian Ministry of Defense. Considering the fact that around 10 thousand Turkish citizens fought among the ranks of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria and Iraq and some of them returned at home, this means that these foreign fighters can use the visa-free regime to come to Europe and perpetrate attacks.

Why this matters? Because the reopening of the Turkish borders underlines Erdogan’s strategy of blackmailing Brussels with the migrants in case the European Union will not give its support on Turkey’s military operation in Syria.