Turkey will open the door to Europe to millions of refugees


Back on Monday, July 22, the Turkish government announced that it was suspending the agreement on the readmission of immigrants, signed with the European Union in 2016. This was announced by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in an interview with radio station TGRT. The diplomat informed that “this measure is connected not only with the recent sanctions imposed by the EU on Turkey for gas exploration in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus”, but also with the failure of the EU to abolish visas for Turkish citizens entering the EU.

“The readmission agreement and visa exemption should have come into force simultaneously. That did not happen. We have suspended the readmission agreement, ”the minister said.

Recall that, in accordance with the agreement, Turkey has pledged not only to become a barrier, but also an illegal immigrants receiving point for returning from the Old World. For the service of precipitating on their territory the hordes of better life seekers running from the Middle East, the EU pledged to pay Ankara six billion euros and allow the Turks visa-free visits to the Schengen countries.

The latter, however, was furnished with a number of reservations. To be precise, Turkey had to prove that it corresponded to 72 conditions set for it by Brussels. Among them, on a regular basis, were “ensuring the rights of minorities (mainly sexual)”, “freedom of speech and refusal from persecution for political reasons”, “ensuring the independence of the courts” and many others.

Then, numerous European media outlets notified everyone that “as early as June 2016, visa-free travel for Turkey could become a reality.” However, nothing has changed since then - visa-free travel for Turkey seems like an unattainable dream.

Moreover, since July 15, 2016, Turkey didn’t have anything to do with meeting European requirements. The attempted coup d'etat forced President Recep Erdogan to toughen his attitude towards the opposition, and in March 2019 he even spoke out for the restoration of the death penalty in the country. All this actually put an end to the prospects for the abolition of visas with Europe.

It is possible that in Brussels, and not particularly worried about the failed visa, and maybe even breathed a sigh of relief. But the statement of the Turkish side to suspend the agreements on the containment of migrants, the European Union is seriously concerned. Of the possible responses to the sanctions imposed by Brussels against Ankara for conducting gas exploration in the waters of Cyprus, this one is the most unexpected for Europe and the most painful.

After the signing of the agreement in 2016, the number of immigrants arriving on the Greek islands declined sharply. If in the summer of 2015 to Europe (mostly through the land border with Greece and water to the islands in the Aegean Sea) through Turkey, up to 150,000 people per month, then a year later this figure dropped to 50,000, and by the beginning of 2017 - up to 3000 people per month.

And now the new command of the tolerant European Union ran a chill down the back: a new tsunami of illegal immigrants is becoming a very real prospect. Erdogan has already proved his determination by acquiring the Russian S-400 missile defense system, despite the most severe pressure from NATO. Open the gateways, restraining migrants, for it is not difficult. Moreover, the money received from the EU has already been eaten.

And it seems that in the case of negotiations on the continuation of the treaty on the containment of refugees, the conversation will already be going not so much about new compensation money, but about gas fields near the Turkish part of Cyprus. And the position of Brussels is seen here weak. Çavuşoğlu diplomatically asked Brussels to "act as a mediator" in the negotiations between Turkey and Cyprus, and not to take the side of the latter.

The head of the Turkish Ministry of the Interior, Suleiman Soylu, spoke more directly. He hinted that Turkey can use the control of unregulated migration at all as a tool of pressure on Brussels.

How did Brussels respond to Turkey's demarche? The European Commission, through the press spokesperson Natasha Berto, expressed herself in the traditional style: “guys, let's live peacefully”. “We believe that both parties will adhere to the signed contract,” the EC representative said.

Ankara was not satisfied with the position of Brussels: according to the German website The World News Monitor, “Cavusoglu said in response that his country would not be frightened by promises to exclude Turkey from NATO, since threats are unrealizable.”

“If the EU expects that we are ready for 50 years to tread at the doors of the block, waiting for when they are opened - it is in vain. We are developing new principles of our foreign policy and we will inform about them at the beginning of August, ”the Sabah Turkish edition quotes the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ankara.

It seems that the words of the Turkish Minister of the Interior that the EU states cannot cope with the invasion if the Turks open the door to Europe are not far from the truth.