News & Politics

Europe Braces for 130,000 Refugees on the Move from Turkey

(AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

The Turkish interior minister says that the number of refugees who have left Turkey heading for Europe has reached 130,000 and shows no sign of easing.

Anadolu Agency:

The number of migrants leaving Turkey to cross to Greece via its northwestern border Edirne as of 9.15 p.m. local time (0615GMT) on Tuesday reached 130,469, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Twitter.

Saying that Europe broke its promise to help migrants in Turkey, as well as help Turkey stem further migrant waves, Turkish officials announced earlier that they would no longer try to stop irregular migrants from reaching Europe.

Yes, Erdogan is extorting the EU to give more help to Turkey with refugees. Turkey is currently hosting more than 3 million displaced people from Syria with another 800,000 displaced by the fighting in Idlib province waiting to enter. The EU agreed to a deal in 2016 that kept most of the migrants in Turkey in exchange for refugee aid.

But that aid has been slow in coming and Erdogan, who is now up to his eyeballs in Syria, not only wants help with refugees but is hoping to get the EU more engaged in Syria. This would not only help Turkey diplomatically, but it would potentially be another seat at the negotiating table.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is calling for a “protected zone” in northwest Syria.

Hurriyet Daily News:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on March 2 called for a “protected zone” in northwestern Syria for hundreds of thousands of civilians fleeing the attacks of the Bashar al-Assad regime.

Speaking at a news conference in the capital Berlin, Merkel expressed grave concern over escalating tensions in Idlib, a northwestern Syrian province, just across the Turkish border.

“We need a cease-fire there, we need basically a protected zone for the hundreds of thousands of people that fled towards the Turkish border,” she stressed.

Is it any wonder Erdogan is pissing at the EU? Since Merkel isn’t willing to send troops to enforce the “protected zone,” just who does she think is going to do it?

“We need…” is the chancellor’s idea of “addressing the problem.” What we need is Germany, France, and other EU countries to step up and create a protected zone all by themselves. But kibbitzing from the sidelines, telling others what needs to be done is the very best she and other EU leaders can do.

I bet Greece would love to see a protected zone before its borders with Turkey turn into a humanitarian disaster.

CNBC:

Ten thousand people at Evros, the Greek region that borders Turkey, were prevented from entering into Greece over the weekend, the Greek ministry for foreign affairs said Sunday. More than 1 million refugees and migrants arrived in Greece in 2015 and early 2016 — the height of the crisis and before the deal with Turkey came into place, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

Greece has now decided that it will not be accepting any new asylum applications for one month.

“Once more, do not attempt to enter Greece illegally — you will be turned back,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of Greece said Sunday.

The politics of Greece have been turned upside down by the refugee crisis, so they naturally would like to see those 10,000 people — and the tens of thousands who are right behind them — go away.

What will probably happen is since most of the refugees will pass through Greece heading for Germany, France, and other nations in central and western Europe, Athens will once again throw open its borders and make sure that most of the migrants don’t stick around.

This, of course, is what Merkel and French President Emanuel Macron are terrified of. So it’s likely that, in exchange for Erdogan closing his borders once again, they will give him almost anything he wants.