New crisis at hand between EU and Turkey over refugees
A new attempt by the Syrian refugees in Turkey to cross the borders towards Europe in mass groups created worry in the EU and the EU officials contacted Turkey and for cooperation, Deutsche Welle Turkish reported.
“The caravan of light” as called by the refugees banding together in whatsapp and telegram groups, will prompt at least a hundred thousand Syrian immigrants currently living in Turkey to force their way once again to the borders of Europe as they no longer want to stay in the country, DW said.
In September, British newspaper Guardian said the organisers of the “caravan'', who are believed to be Syrian refugees themselves, have told people to bring sleeping bags, tents, lifejackets, water, canned food and first aid kits. The actual number of people in the caravan is unclear, but organizers say about 100,000 people are expected.
According to DW, European countries asked the Turkish authorities to take the necessary measures to avoid new tensions similar to those in 2020 on the Turkey-Greece border, when tens of thousands of refugees and migrants who seek refuge in the EU arrived at the border after Turkey announced it was unilaterally opening its borders to Greece.
Serious build-up at the borders
Experts said there was already a very serious build-up at the borders, and it was bound to grow.
“Research shows that there is a very serious increase among Syrians who want to leave Turkey. This rate surged from 15% to over 55% now,” said migration expert Prof. Murat Erdogan, who is currently conducting his studies under the auspices of Centre for Applied Turkey Studies (CATS).
Erdogan said the Syrian immigrants have bigger problems in Turkey due to the growing economic crisis and they are afraid of being sent back to Syria.
“Turkish people see refugees as one of the top three most important problems of the country. This intensifies the anti-immigrant discourse in the society,” Erdogan said.
According to Erdogan this puts a serious pressure on the Turkish government which can not prevent a large refugee movement towards the Greek border before the election.
“Therefore, it is very likely that the Turkish-Greek border will witness tensions where Greek authorities will try to push back refugees with gas bombs and water canonns. With the mass of refugees heading to the border just before the elections, the reactions in Turkish society against both Syrians and Europe's lack of solidarity will combine,” Erdogan said.
Prof. Dr. Panu Poutvaara, Director of International Migration Studies at the German Institute for Economic Research (ifo), also thinks that tension between Turkey and the EU over refugees will increase in the coming months.
“Turkey is applying and increasing pressure on the EU to make concessions. The EU, on the other hand, is trying to show that it will not bow to Turkey's blackmail," Poutvaara said.