Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been scheming against European countries for a long time. For the second time since 2015, he has carried out his blackmail of migratory flooding by opening his land and sea borders with Greece to thousands of Syrian, Afghan, Iraqi, Pakistani, Somali refugees. Among them, there are certainly terrorist infiltrators who have shaved their beards or shed their burkas. This migration is his “nuclear” deterrent, a human pipeline intended to subject the European Union to pan-Islamism and expansionist oukases.
The message of the Istanbul satrap is perfectly clear: “To safeguard the borders of Europe, either the Europeans pay me (Erdogan) even more money by supporting me militarily in my war against Damascus alongside my Islamic-terrorist mercenaries, or I pour on her thousands of Syrian hostages who dream of the European Eldorado.” For, as far as Syrians are concerned, they are indeed hostages that the Turkish regime has long prevented from returning to their towns and villages pacified and liberated by the Syrian army from the barbarity of Daesh, Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra…
Idlib province is one of the last terrorist strongholds that the Erdogan regime has supported since the beginning of the so-called Arab Spring. The Arab spring’s impacts are now being measured in the aggregation of political, geopolitical, humanitarian, socio-economic and security aspects not only in Syria but also in Libya, Yemen and Tunisia. Tunisia being the most ‘successful’ in its spring by entrusting the reality of power to the servants of Erdogan that are the Muslim Brotherhood! The liberation of Idlib is at the root of this new and very serious migration crisis. Idlib province is the most advanced post of irregular Turkish troops (jihadists) in Syrian territory. In his defense of these terrorists, the Turkish autocrat invoked security and even “humanitarian” reasons, hundreds of inhabitants of these provinces who had fallen under the yoke of theocratic totalitarianism who could flee the war and take refuge in Turkey, like the 4 million Syrians already exiled to the country. Erdogan’s deception is useless because it is himself who prevents Syrian refugees from returning to their villages, and who keeps them as a bargaining chip and leverage over Europe. Before carrying out his threats, Erdogan justified his plan to occupy Syrian territories by making Europeans believe that, rather than being invaded by thousands of Syrian refugees, it would be better for them to entrust Turkey’s neo-Ottoman mission to confine these refugees to Idlib and Aleppo.
But European leaders are no longer fooled. Even if it took them a long time to understand it, they now know that the Turkish regime has forged close links with the major terrorist organizations that were rampant in Iraq and Syria and whose ramifications go as far as Europe. At his joint conference in London with Donald Trump on December 3, 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron had the courage to declare: “When I look at Turkey, it now fights those (Kurds) who fought with us, alongside us against the Islamic state. Sometimes the Turks work with IS intermediaries. It’s a problem and it’s a strategic problem… The common enemy today are terrorist groups and I am sorry that we do not have the same definition of terrorism.”
By opening the floodgates of his migration pipeline, Erdogan is thus breaking the 2016 pact with Brussels, under which the Turkish government pledged, against 6 billion euros, to fight illegal crossings. “Pirate state in the eastern Mediterranean” was the Cypriot Presidency’s statement following the sending off Cyprus in January 2020 of Turkish gas drilling vessels. Erdogan’s Turkey is now behaving like its barbaric ancestors by monetizing the lives of thousands of refugees. Having suffered the electoral consequences of welcoming more than a million asylum seekers in 2015-16, the German Chancellor was not fooled this time: “It is unacceptable for Ankara to put pressure on Europe on the backs of refugees”.
As serious as it is for security and civil peace in Europe, especially in Greece and Bulgaria, the opening of the Turkish-Greek borders is far less perilous than Erdogan’s barely concealed objective: to drag Europe into an armed conflict directly with the Russian-Syrian axis. For this is ultimately Erdogan’s tactical but also strategic plan. This is despite Turkish new closeness with Russia, notably by buying S-400 anti-aircraft missiles in 2019, much to the chagrin of its historic American ally as well as NATO, of which Turkey has been a member since 1952. In so doing, Erdogan has crossed the Rubicon: Turkey was excluded from the acquisition program and manufacture of F-35 stealth aircraft and the US Congres and Senate passed a resolution calling the massacre of Armenians in Turkey in 1915 a genocide. In response, Erdogan threatened to close The Americans’ access to NATO bases located in Incirlink and Korecik, prompting the United States to explore their transfer to Greece or even Saudi Arabia.
Playing with the duplicity dear to the Muslim Brotherhood to which he belongs, Erdogan is not at his first contradiction. On one hand, he grants himself missiles that pose a potential threat to the European Union members of NATO and, on the other hand, he sends to European countries the injunction to support him against Syria and its Russian ally in the name of the alliance which obliges signatory states to provide assistance to any other Member State that has been attacked or threatened. The problem is that Turkey is not an attacked state but an aggressor state, both vis-à-vis Syria – where it seeks to preserve its irregular army consisting of Daesh, Al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda – and Greece on which it has just dumped its bomb migration, which in itself is a declaration of war.
Bellicose provocations against Greece are not new. Already in October 2016 in his speech in Rize, Erdogan was referring to the “borders of the heart” and the “historically Turkish” territories, notably Thessaloniki in Greece. And, in May 2018, he publicly threatened the European country with an imminent invasion of the Aegean Islands, more than ever claimed by Ankara because of the gas deposits that have been discovered there. He also raised the possibility of revising the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, in which Turkey felt aggrieved, pretending to ignore the fact that it had instead expanded its territory in relation to the Treaty of Sevres of 1920, at the expense of Greece and Armenia.
With the opening of the Turkish-Greek borders, the sword of Damocles has just fallen on the land of Pericles, the wise and Athenian strategist who gave his name to the century of the greatness of Athens, and whose political genius Thucydides and Aristotle have praised. The same Pericles who, because of the Peloponnesian wars, told his detractors: “We fight for the other cities, and we distance the barbarians from their borders.” Today Greece must face this invasion for its own integrity and for all European countries. A major challenge that President Emmanuel Macron understood perfectly in tweeting last Sunday: “Full solidarity with Greece and Bulgaria, France is ready to contribute to European efforts to provide them with rapid assistance and protect borders.”
Erdogan provokes a new migration crisis, threatens Cyprus with invasion, galvanizes the Turkish diaspora against the European countries hosting them, extends its ideological influence on the Balkans, and finally, moves thousands of jihadists to Libya. Beyond Erdogan’s punctual and immediate motivations there is a formidable and underlying pan-Islamic and neo-Ottoman project that should be detected and combated.
Frustrated with Europe, which refused him membership, Erdogan is positioning himself as the leader of an anti-Western alternative, that of the East against the West, of Islam against Christianity, of the colonized against the colonizers, of the “damned of the earth” against the dominators. He thus plays on the geopolitical efficiency of atavisms and cultural antagonisms, on the clash of civilizations so aptly revealed by Huntington in 1993. If, however, these shocks were to occur, it would not take place between the West and the Muslim world, but between a despot at the end of his reign and an Arab-Western alliance ready to take up the challenge.
Author: Mezri Haddad. Translator: Phillipe Boileau.
Republished by permission of Sic Semper Tyrannis.