Turkey can’t be Europe’s gatekeeper

Sinan Ulgen writes: Next week, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey will visit Brussels and tell his European Union counterparts that Europe must act decisively if it wants to stop the massive flow of refugees leaving his country and entering the European Union by land and sea. Turkey is willing to help halt the exodus, but the union cannot expect it to do so if European governments offer Turkey little in return.

Unlike Europe, Turkey decided to adopt an open-door policy for refugees at the beginning of the Syrian crisis in 2011. It did so out of humanitarian concern and a misplaced optimism about the weakness of the Assad regime. But now the refugee population in Turkey has grown to approximately two million.

Turkey’s ability and willingness to accept this huge number seems to have lulled European policy makers into complacency. Their vision for dealing with the tragic consequences of the Syrian war has, it seems, been limited to hoping that Turkey will act as an eternal buffer zone for Europe. That is a pipe dream. [Continue reading…]

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