As I wrote in a previous article, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is responding to last weekend’s failed military coup without mercy. America and the EU are begging him not to use the attempted coup as an excuse to downgrade Turkey’s civil rights – but Erdogan isn’t listening.
After purging the nation’s military and police forces of thousands of “traitors,” Turkey’s president has decided to grant 300,000 Syrians citizenship. Those 300,000 people will be able to vote in the next election and – when the EU grants Turkey visa-free access – travel to Europe.
In one fell swoop, Presdient Erdogan has stacked the next election and threatened the fragile stability of the EU.
Sharing a border with Syria has made Turkey that #1 destination for Syrian refugees. As of September 2015, Turkey had absorbed 1.9 million migrants – nearly half of all who had fled the war-torn country at the time.
In it’s most recent bid to join the EU, Turkey agreed to help stem the flow of migrants crossing through Turkey into Europe. It also agreed to outlaw the death penalty. Last weekend’s failed coup has led President Erdogan to reconsider using the death penalty, a decision that would bar him from joining the EU.
President Erdogan’s decision to naturalize 300,000 Syrians comes as the Turkish government starts to realize that many of the migrants are never going to return to Syria. Erdogan’s Premier Binali Yildirm argues that the president’s controversial decision is a “turning point” for Turkey’s approach to the migrant crisis and Syrian civil war. The Turkish government has long opposed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but Erdogan’s decision appears to signify a change in attitude.
As I mentioned above, many believe the decision to naturalize 300,000 Syrians is nothing more than a way for Erdogan to secure 300,000 loyal voters. Opposition leader Kemal Ataturk begs Erdogan to present the issue as a referendum and notes that most Turks oppose the idea.
The deal Turkey made with the EU grants all Turkish citizens visa-free access into Europe. If those 300,000 Syrians become Turkish citizens, there will be no way to stop them from traveling en masse to Europe and seeking asylum upon arrival.
Many politicians worry that granting visa-free travel to Turkish citizens will guarantee a new wave of migration even without the 300,000 Syrians. It is likely that oppressed minority groups like the Kurds would travel to Europe seeking new homes. Horst Seehofer, an ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, warns that granting visa-free access to the Turks could result in millions of Turks moving into Europe – a situation that Europe absolutley cannot handle right now.
Editor’s note: This is a frightening development. Europe is just starting to realize its mistake in allowing so many refugees. This series of events that not only locks Erdogan into power but could be a devastating influence on Europe.