Global Independent Analytics
Seyit Aldogan
Seyit Aldogan

Location: Greece

Specialization: ISIS, Middle East, Globalization, Migrant crisis

On Turkey’s migration policy

Once again, migration is high on the international agenda – particularly in Europe

The European governments are holding Euro Summits, issuing statements and making recommendations. But people continue to die at the borders of Fortress-Europe, the Mediterranean Sea is increasingly turning into a graveyard of migrants and refugees and all the solutions that are being proposed are not aimed at saving lives but on blocking off the refugee streams.

The waves of refugees are caused by the wars in the Middle East, especially the war in Syria and the murderous activity of ISIS. The government of Turkey takes every opportunity to declare that “it is hosting 2,000,000 people”, demanding help from the West. Greece as well as other countries, such as Germany, have on numerous occasions called on Turkey to assume its responsibilities and to respect the international treaties it has signed. Several hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees have passed from Turkey. The number of those who were relocated is some hundreds. Turkey is trying to use the migration issue as a weapon against the Kurdish people, but also as a negotiation tactic to ensure its accession to the European Union. By not hesitating to provide assistance – at every level – to the Islamofascists of ISIS, Ankara has played an important role in exacerbating the problem. Turkey has treated the strengthening of ISIS as a security policy against the “danger posed by the Kurdish issue”. To put it simply, Turkey is using migration and its strong presence in the region as a negotiating tactic, trying to kill two birds with one stone.

Merkel's visit to Turkey has to be viewed within this context. It took place at a time when the political situation was not favorable at all for it: as Turkey was preparing to hold elections, while at the same time was being harshly criticized for its actions in various issues (migration, Syrian, Kurdish issue). Such a visit would mean support for Erdogan, and Merkel had been strongly criticized for it. Nevertheless, she did visit. Until the early 90s, Turkey based its negotiation tactics on Cyprus, the Aegean and the tasks that the country would assume for NATO. The global shift in power relations that followed has led to major developments and changes in the Middle East, North Africa and the wider region. Turkey with its "New Ottoman policy" has followed – and continues to do so – an expansionist policy in the region as an ally of US imperialism. Using its geopolitical position and its strong military force, Turkey is trying to take advantage of the popular uprisings, the restructuring of the old regimes, the wars and military interventions, in order to strengthen its position and reinforce its role as an important peripheral power in the region.

The influx of migrants towards the countries of Europe finds no obstacles in Turkey; on the contrary, it happens with its blessing. The regime of Ankara is only interested in negotiating a better bargain for itself by increasingly using the migration issue as leverage.

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