Turkey: Migration crisis

The EU and Turkey have agreed to discuss the renewed refugee crisis in Syria – and review the 2016 deal that has curbed the flow of migrants to the EU. As a result of that deal, Turkey is now home to around 3.6 million refugees from the nine-year civil war in Syria. But President Erdogan has repeatedly accused the EU of failing to keep to its side of the bargain. The EU promised Ankara s6bn of help in exchange for, in effect, containing the migration crisis within its borders. Erdogan says that it has received only s3bn, and that the EU has also failed to live up to a promise to grant visa-free travel to Turkish citizens. Late last month, Erdogan declared that he was “opening the gates” from Turkey to Greece, in an apparent attempt to draw attention to the crisis – and put pressure on the EU to support his attempts to enforce a “safe zone” for returning refugees in northern Syria. Since then, tens of thousands of migrants in Turkey have travelled to the border, leading to violent clashes with Greek security forces. Mindful of the fact that the last refugee crisis coincided with a surge in support for populist parties in the EU, the bloc’s leaders are anxious to prevent another influx from Syria, and have agreed to re-examine the deal. However, they have also described Erdogan’s threats as “blackmail”, and accused him of “weaponising” migrants.