Erdogan criticizes EU for insufficient support for Turkey’s actions in the Middle East
On January 13, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressed the ambassadors of EU member states, urging the bloc to advance a political solution to the crisis in the Syrian Arab Republic (SAR).
During his speech, the Turkish leader said that Ankara’s actions in Syria allegedly helped to minimize the consequences of an acute migration crisis and prevent an increase in the flow of refugees to European countries. Otherwise, Erdogan says, the crisis could lead to massive loss of life and the spread of instability in the region.
The head of the Republic of Turkey added that his country’s operations in the north of the SAR “created an atmosphere of trust” and prevented this part of Syria from turning into a center for the global export of terrorism. Erdogan claims that Ankara managed to ensure the safe return of almost 500,000 Syrian refugees to their homeland, but did not receive proper support for these actions from the European Union.
What kind of support does the president of the country speak about, whose armed forces, together with militants loyal to Ankara, seized control over the northwestern regions of the SAR as a result of a series of “anti-terrorist operations.” Ankara called their goal counteraction to the “Islamic State” and the Kurdish formations, but not the return of refugees and the organization of a normal peaceful life. Official Damascus did not give Turkey a mandate to deploy troops in the country.
Moreover, the Syrian government has repeatedly called on the Turkish authorities to withdraw the contingent, but Turkey only continues to increase its presence in the neighboring country.
At the same time, Syrian civilians often become victims of the actions of Turkish military personnel and militants controlled by them. So, a few days ago, in the city of Marea, Aleppo province, as a result of a clash between pro-Turkish radicals, at least one civilian was killed, and several more were injured. As reported by the SANA agency, militants of the Liwa al-Wakkas group staged a shootout with machine guns, which led to the tragedy.
The situation with Syrian refugees in Turkey is no better. Ankara is actively using the inhabitants of the Arab Republic, arriving on its territory, as a bargaining tool in a dialogue with European countries. The Turkish authorities regularly talk about the massive spending on receiving migrants and the problems that they create. With such statements, Ankara is trying to increase funding from the EU, as well as to achieve a number of political concessions.
Meanwhile, the refugees themselves in Turkey, for the most part, either live in unacceptable conditions — in tent camps without basic amenities — or are attacked by the indigenous population. So, last summer, riots broke out in Ankara, during which local residents smashed the shops and cars of the Syrians. These actions were a response to the murder of a young Turk in a street brawl.
the only example of the wayward policy of the Turkish leader. Turkey’s behavior in the Libyan conflict is not distinguished by friendliness towards the EU countries; more precisely, it can be described as “aggressive”. The Turks not only voluntarily redrawn the map of the division of the Mediterranean Sea to suit their interests, primarily for the extraction of natural resources. With such an attitude towards his partners, it is very strange that Erdogan expects significant expressions of sympathy and support from them.