As the United States pulls the last of its troops out of Afghanistan following the Taliban’s rapid takeover of that country, the European Union has few options to prevent another large-scale inflow of refugees and migrants from entering its territory. Paying off Turkey is one option but is not likely to prove reliable if the Syrian precedent is anything to go by, a CNN report said on Friday.
The report noted that if the EU faces a large Afghan refugee and migrant influx similar to the Syrian one it experienced in 2015, it has only two options. It can either pay off regional neighbours to hold the refugees, hence Turkey, or reach a quota agreement to settle them across the union’s 27 member states.
Brussels will likely opt for the former option. CNN notes that it previously tried this approach back in 2015 by giving Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government money to prevent migrants from entering Europe via Turkey.
“They’ve learned all the wrong lessons from 2015, where cutting a deal with Turkey backfired dramatically when President Erdoğan decided it was politically convenient to use these people as weapons, letting them head for Greece,” Zoe Gardner, a policy advisor at Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, told CNN.
Erdoğan’s ability to weaponize these refugees, she went on to argue, was made possible by populist politicians portraying people fleeing from war zones as something their citizens should view as a danger.