On 27 September 2020 Azerbaijan Armed Forces, backed by Turkey’s active support, launched a large-scale attack on the Republic of Artsakh. Turkey’s active involvement, including transportation of fighters from “jihadist groups” in Syria to Azerbaijan, left everyone startled. Macron regarded Erdogan’s actions as:
“ … a red line has been crossed …”.
But is it for the first time?
What can be worse than playing a game with badly defined rules? A game where the rules constantly change. This is the situation Europe found itself in after reaching, what they thought, a great deal in which Turkey earned billions of Euros in exchange for becoming a barrier preventing a wave of refugees from crossing into Europe.
However, having the deal with Europe secured, Erdogan starts blackmailing Europe.
“… when the Syrian regime began its offensive on Idlib — which is home to many Ankara-backed jihadist fighters — Turkey decided to open the borders to refugees stream into Europe as a way to get the EU to put pressure on Syria and its Russian backer to halt the offensive. Ankara openly encouraged refugees to flee and even published routes in Arabic for them to take which resulted in some 900,000 refugees crossing into Europe in January and February of this year.”
While Europe tried to withstand the attack …
“It is an attack by Turkey against the European Union and Greece. People are being used to pressure Europe. … The EU must not be susceptible to blackmail,” Sebastian Kurz told reporters.
“Today, Erdogan threatened to send 2.5 million refugees from Turkey to Europe if the European Parliament was to take the “wrong decision”; this is blackmail and Europe should not give in to it. Visa liberalisation must benefit the people, not autocratic leaders. Visa liberalisation is meant to help people, not boost Erdogan’s power”
“European Council President Donald Tusk said on Friday that the European Union would not accept “blackmail” from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has threatened to send millions of refugees into Europe in reaction to criticism of Turkey’s offensive in Syria.”
… Erdogan didn’t even try to refute:
“Until all Turkey’s expectations, including free movement, … updating of the customs union and financial assistance, are tangibly met, we will continue the practice on our borders” he said in a televised speech.
“With the warming of the weather in the spring, the influx of irregular migrants heading to Europe will not be limited to Greece but spread all over the Mediterranean,” he warned.
“Mr. Erdogan’s idea of a “fair share” of the burden goes far beyond the refugee issue. The refugees, and the money he can extort from the EU for keeping them in Turkey, are a side issue. What Mr. Erdogan wants most is to force the EU to join his military campaign in Syria. “
Europe being a soft touch, lets Erdogan to blackmail again:
“Hours before the Berlin conference on Libya kicks off, Erdogan through an article in the magazine “Politico” warned Europe that if the Al-Wefaq government, led by Fayez Al-Sarraj, fell in Tripoli, terrorist organizations would find a foothold in Europe, and he claimed that the road to peace in Libya runs through Turkey.”
Not everyone in Europe is happy with Erdogan involving Europe in his dirty games:
“You sleep with the devil, you wake up in hell – there is where we are now,” one ambassador said during the meeting.
‘The Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis described the EU-Turkey refugee pact as “dead” on Friday.’
“What we are dealing with is not a migration or refugee problem. It is Turkey’s deliberate attempt to use refugees and migrants as political farmers to pursue their own political interests, ”said Mitsotakis.
But this doesn’t stop Erdogan from crossing the “shades” of the red line over and over again by testing Europe’s patience. This leaves us with an open question – does Europe have any limits at all?