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European Union; Migration Syria; Refugees Turkey Commentary

Is another migrant wave inevitable?

European elites are unable to manage the refugee crisis

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Pavel P. Kopecký

Many immigration experts say that another refugee wave is inevitable, however, many aspects of this refugee wave remain uncertain, such as how big it will be, when exactly it will occur, and what exactly will set it off.

One thing is certain though: The European Union’s political elite will have no idea how to handle it.

After all, this is mostly the same elite that were completely unprepared for the 2015 migrant crisis. Even worse, since then, many of them have advocated for accepting more refugees. The more some nationalist politicians in Europe take a stand against immigration, the more those in Brussels and pro-migration European leaders do everything in they can to remove them from power.

Just look at how they attacked Matteo Salvini in Italy for his decision to refuse boat migrants in Italian ports, a policy that if implemented throughout Europe, would have served as a major deterrent for migrants attempting to make the dangerous journey

Turkey is another clear example of what a precarious position Europe is in. The country’s leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has been relentless at strengthening his power. It is unclear what his future plans are, but he has not been shy about threatening to “flood” Europe with the over 3 million refugees currently being housed in Turkey.

“You either support us to have a safe zone in Syria, or we will have to open the gates. Either you support us or no one should feel sorry. We would like to host one million refugees in the safe zone,” said Erdoğan in demanding NATO support his invasion of northern Syria last year.

Whatever he plans to do next, so far, the Turkish leader has shown that he is not afraid to take off the gloves when dealing with Europe.

In addition to his migrant threats, which he knows is a major source of leverage, he also for years threatened to meddle in the development of the struggling Syrian Arab Republic (SAR).

The so-called advanced democracies have passively watched his theatrics for a long time. And Syria is good evidence of that.

The protracted Syrian civil war is a proxy conflict, which reveals the ample barriers present in international politics. Syrians have never been the number one priority. The main objective is to gain influence in the region that is strategically important in terms of trade, energy, transport, and the military.

Turkey is one of those countries aiming to stir up the conflict, however, not even Erdoğan’s actions against the Kurds have prompted the allies of the United States to take adequate action against Turkey, such as issuing sanctions.

And the Syrian tragedy continues unabated. The last strategically important Syrian Arab Republic area, controlled by radical religious rebels, is the northwest province of Idlib, which became a refuge for rebels defeated by government troops in other regions. These rebels basically fled under the protective wings of Erdoğan and have become a sort of vassal of his military in the region.

But there is another dangerous aspect of the conflict. The region struggles to deal with millions of refugees, many of whom have become radicalized, as Idlib’s locals do not welcome them in the province, as was the case at the beginning of the conflict.

There is a real risk that these refugees, given the chance, will head to Europe as soon as that option is made available. Turkey may not hold them back any longer either, especially if Erdoğan believes it is in his strategic interest. 

However, contrary to Erdoğan’s fiery speeches about Syria, Ankara will eventually have to establish official contacts with Damascus and make an appropriate compromise with Assad. And there is a good chance that the EU will not be satisfied with the result of such negotiations.

In the end, the EU should take what it can get, especially if it averts another massive wave of migrants.

What is clear, is that even if Europe manages to avert a wave of Syrian migrants, there are plenty of other conflicts and economic conditions around the world that will make Europe a magnet for tens of millions for decades to come.