Having mismanaged its relationship with Turkey for decades, including paying a “subsidy” of billions of Euros to that country to persuade it to stop allowing Syrian and other “refugees” to flood into Europe, that continent is once again learning (the hard way) the lesson taught so well by Rudyard Kipling: “If once you have paid him the Dane-geld, you never get rid of the Dane“.
Over a dozen migrant boats landed on Greece’s Lesbos island within minutes of each other on Thursday in the first such mass arrival from neighboring Turkey in three years, officials said, prompting Greece to summon Turkey’s ambassador.
In 2015, at the height of Europe’s migrant crisis, thousands of people were arriving on Greek shores every day. The numbers dropped dramatically after the European Union and Ankara implemented a deal in March 2016 to cut off the flow.
Of the 56,000 refugees and migrants arriving in Europe this year, nearly half have been to a handful of Greek islands, and the number has risen in recent months, United Nations data shows.
Sixteen boats carrying about 650 people reached Lesbos on Thursday, 13 of those in under an hour, according to police and the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR.
“It surprised us. We haven’t seen this type of simultaneous arrivals in this number since 2016,” said Boris Cheshirkov, spokesman for UNHCR in Greece.
Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias summoned the Turkish ambassador on Friday to “express Greece’s deep discontent” with the rise in flows from Turkey, diplomatic sources said. The ambassador said Turkey was “committed” to the EU-Turkey deal and that its policy had not changed, the sources said.
There’s more at the link.
And why the sudden surge in new arrivals? Turkish President Erdogan made it clear on the same day that the refugees flooded in, just in case anyone failed to notice the connection.
The president of Turkey said Thursday he would be forced to “open the gates” and allow a route for Syrian refugees to travel into Western Europe unless a deal is reached with the U.S. by the end of the month to help resettle migrants in a so-called “safe zone” within Syria, according to reports.
In a speech to his ruling party officials, President Tayyip Erdogan said he was determined to create a “safe zone” in northeast Syria in partnership with the United States by the end of September, but was prepared to act alone if necessary.
“We will be forced to open the gates,” Erdogan said. “We cannot be forced to handle the burden alone.”
Erdogan said Turkey aims to resettle about 1 million out of the 3.65 million Syrian refugees in the safe zone. He added that his nation “did not receive the support needed from the world” to help it cope with Syrian refugees.
Again, more at the link.
Turkey has its own priorities in Syria, including establishing a Turkish-controlled “buffer zone” on the other side of the border where it can send some of the estimated 3 million Syrian refugees that have flooded into its territory. It also wants to use the buffer zone to continue providing support to Islamic terrorists, which it’s been doing (against the interests, wishes and desires of the Syrian government) for years. Indeed, so blatant has been Turkey’s interference that one of its convoys was recently bombed by Syrian and Russian warplanes, to prevent its cargo reaching Islamic terrorists in Idlib.
Erdogan is basically demanding that the European Union intervene on his side, to force the USA to apply pressure on Syria and Russia to support Turkish ambitions in Syria. Needless to say, any EU intervention is unlikely to sway opinion in Washington D.C. – but Erdogan will continue to insist on Europe’s support, so that Turkey doesn’t appear too isolated on the international stage. The refugees he’s threatening to unleash are merely pawns in the geopolitical game. He probably doesn’t care whether they live or die, so long as they help him accomplish his purpose in Syria.
So, all those European “subsidies” to turn off the Turkish refugee tap have accomplished precisely nothing, except to prove once more that “If once you have paid him the Dane-geld, you never get rid of the Dane”. Expensive lesson, that . . .