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Erdogan Openly Using Refugees To Blackmail Europe for Support

March 4, 2020 (EIRNS)—Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made it explicit that he is using the refugee crisis to demand support from Europe for his murderous policy in Syria.

Speaking before the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) parliamentary group meeting on March 4, Erdogan declared that “if European countries want to resolve the [refugee] issue, they must support Turkey’s efforts for political and humanitarian solutions in Syria.”

Erdogan’s “humanitarian solution” in Syria is to support the jihadi terrorists.

In his remarks he particularly attacked Greece. Making it clear that pushing the Syrian and other refugees in Turkey across the border into Greece was a tactic to force Europe to support his policy in Syria, he said the refugee influx will go on until a new Syrian constitution is drafted whereby a new administration takes office in Damascus. Erdogan responded to his domestic opposition’s criticisms of his offensive against the Syrian government, and even as he claimed “support” for Syria’s territorial integrity, he proclaimed that Idlib is the Turkish people’s “homeland,” a reference to the historical lands of the Ottoman Empire.

The European Union countered Erdogan’s outrageous claims with its own hot air. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell could only say was that “pressure and unilateral action are not an answer. We need to work hand in hand to address common challenges, for the benefit of both Turkey and the EU,” after he met with Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu in Ankara today.

Earlier, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for creating a “protection zone” in northwest Syria for the Syrian refugees, but of course she did not say who would “protect” them or how.

Such positions are even worse than doing nothing. The true solution is for Europe to back Russia and the Syrian government, and to hold Erdogan to the agreements he made with Russia and Iran in the Astana process.

Writing in today’s Hurriyet Daily News commentator Serkan Demirtas asserts that all of Erdogan’s efforts to mobilize international support, through blackmail via the refugees or otherwise, are failing. “Despite the Turkish efforts to expand the scope of the Idlib-centered developments to a global scale, a resolution to the ongoing conflict in Idlib is still under the domain of Turkey and Russia,” he wrote. He suggests that a deal can be reached when Erdogan goes to Moscow, in which Russian and Syrian control of the M4 and M5 highways would be assured, while the elimination of jihadist terror organizations can finally take place and they can perhaps deploy joint patrols along these two highways and relocating Turkey’s observation posts.

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