The timidity on the EU’s part, which causes problems both for Turkey and Greece
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday once again referred to Turkey’s plans to create cities within the Syrian safe zone, where Syrian refugees will be settled.
He made it clear that Ankara wants to receive financial assistance from abroad, mainly from Europe, but stressed that even if the Turkish government does not receive it, it will proceed with the project on its own.
According to reports in the Turkish press, Turkey plans to build 140 villages of 5,000 inhabitants with the settlement of 700,000 refugees as an initial goal. Later on, there are thoughts about 2 million refugees living in Turkey today to be settled in Syria, and thus return to their homeland.
EU has to decide what it is that it wants from Turkey. Because all cards are on the table. Turkey currently hosts 4 million refugees and already flows to Greece have increased compared to 2018. Ankara’s protests and demands for more border guard may be logical, yet temporary.
EU countries must decide how they will handle this issue, as many of these countries refuse to even accept one family of refugees. There are also objections to more financial assistance to Turkey. As a result, the problem remains.
Instead of discussing who and when caused the issue of the Syrian civil war or the issue of the creation of a Safe Zone within Syria by Turkey with the agreement of the US and Russia, European politicians must act promptly and effectively.
Either they will accept the 4 million refugees living in Turkey in their countries, with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan stating that the opening of the borders is a plausible scenario, or they will send large financial aid to Ankara’s way in order to continue hosting refugees in Turkey, but also to settle a large number within the safe zone in Syria.
In Turkey, too, economic and social conditions push the Turkish government to the corner, which is being pressured for the removal of the refugees. Many of them are working lower wages than those of the Turks, with the ruling party receiving political pressure from its middle and lower-income constituents as well, who are now losing their jobs.
The pressure Greece is experiencing on its islands with the refugee flows has to stop.
Things are clear; otherwise, once again Brussels will see its decisions being overstepped by recent developments. The EU cannot be reluctant to provide financial assistance to Turkey and Greece, with many countries refusing to accept refugees, while at the same time trying to solve the problem with more patrols in the Aegean.
Bold and realistic decisions are needed /ibna