Europe should return Turks as Erdogan opens the refugee floodgates
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long sought to weaponize refugees as a tool in both his domestic and foreign policies.
The Turkish leader has also sought to leverage refugees passing through to blackmail Europe. In 2016, Erdogan threatened to open the floodgates if Europe slowed Turkey accession talks or failed to implement visa-free travel.
If Erdogan wishes to leverage the refugees, then Europe should meet him head-on. European leaders should accept the Syrian refugees, but, for each one that makes it across the Turkish frontier, European leaders should return one Turkish migrant.
Some Turks have acquired European citizenship, but many have not. Nor have all Turkish migrants embraced a European identity or accepted European liberalism. When Erdogan holds or attempts election rallies in European cities, he is essentially confirming that he and those attending his rallies see themselves as Turks first before citizens of Europe. Indeed, at a 2008 rally in the German city of Cologne, he warned Turkish migrants not to assimilate into European societies. “Assimilation is a crime against humanity,” he declared.