Our Analytics 6 september — 14:35

And who are you, judges of Erdogan? (Topical comment)

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BY IKRAM NUR

On 5 September, Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey would be forced to open its border crossings if it did not receive support in the creation of a security zone in Syria.

'Our goal is to return at least one million of our Syrian brothers to the safe zone that we will form along our border,' Erdogan explained. 'Provide us with logistic support, and we will be able to build places to accommodate people 30 km deep into Syrian territory in the north... Either this happens, or else we will have to open the gate to Europe,' he continued. 'Either you provide support, or excuse us, but we are not going to carry this load alone. We could not get help from the international community, namely from the European Union.'

'It is blackmail, impudent and undisguised blackmail!' the media immediately responded, in unison, and moreover, in the United States, Europe, and the post-Soviet space.

The Kurds are extremely unhappy: why is Erdogan going to settle these people in the territories that the SDF has already marked on the maps as the lands of the future autonomous Syrian Kurdistan? 'The settlement here of hundreds of thousands of Syrians who previously lived outside our region would be unacceptable,' said one of the functionaries of the 'free Syrian Kurds' Badran Tzia. And such a reaction is understandable, because in his speech that caused the commotion, Erdogan said that Turkey needed such a 'security zone so that it can build cities here instead of tent towns.'

Is the Turkish president's speech blackmailing the EU?

Before criticising the Turkish president, it would be quite right to ask a question: does he have another way? Is there an opportunity to resolve the issue amicably, without resorting to threats? And it suddenly becomes clear: no.

It is worth recalling that, in accordance with the 2016 agreement with the EU, Turkey introduced stricter controls to limit the flow of migrants and refugees from Syria to Europe. In fact, it agreed to accept the 'Syrian brothers' in its own territory. And the European Union, in turn, made a commitment to provide assistance to Turkey in the amount of 6.6 billion dollars.

As a result, there are now about 3.5 million refugees from Syria in the country, and only half of the promised amount -- $3.5 billion -- has been received from Europe for their needs. Okay, let's not be petty and believe the EU representative Natasha Berto, who claims that Ankara received 5.6 billion. But the problem lies in the fact that the reception of refugees cost the Turkish budget, according to conservative estimates, about $30 billion.

The question is quite appropriate here: how did Ankara calculate that they underestimated the cost of maintaining refugees? If the Turkish economists have underestimated the necessary amount so much, then who is to blame?

Everything is normal with economists in Ankara. The problem was that no one had expected such an influx of refugees. The maximum was a million. Well, one and a half, most. Turkey would 'digest' such a human flow. But 2.5 times more: no economy can withstand it, the load is too heavy.

Everything was complicated by the fact that Ankara reacted to the refugees as humane as possible. They were not placed in camps like those that other countries created for Palestinians and Afghans, but had the opportunity to settle throughout the country. As a result, an additional burden fell on the country's budget, and conflicts began to arise quickly at the household level.

Turkey had to face the same thing as any host of refugees in large numbers. On the one hand, the 'newcomers' perceived and perceive their stay on Turkish soil as a temporary episode in their life. Therefore, most of them do not feel the slightest desire to integrate into Turkish society, carefully and even with a certain strain preserving their 'otherness.'

On the other hand, part of the refugees perceived their exodus to Turkey not as an Ankara's goodwill gesture, but as their 'duty' to them, and blamed the Turkish authorities for any lack of anything, for any lack of amenities.

Along with the refugees, the 'Islamic State' agents also leaked into Turkey, which immediately launched active work on the formation of clandestine cells and the preparation of terrorist attacks. And they easily recruited accomplices and performers within the Syrian diaspora. And this was no less a threat to Turkey's national security than the exorbitant burden on the state budget. Yes, over time, the Turkish special services practically cleared the terrorist cells, and a number of major terrorist attacks were averted even at the preparatory stage. But the people 'dissatisfied with Turkey' in the Syrian diaspora have not disappeared, moreover, their number even increases over time.

Add to this the inevitable surge of crime in all its manifestations from the growth of violent crimes to drug trafficking and illegal arms trafficking. And in the end, you get a huge headache, the diagnosis of which is precisely refugees.

Moreover, this is not something unique, it always happens that way. This was the case with the Palestinians, this was the case with the Afghans, this is happening now in the Rohingya Muslim camps. A humanitarian catastrophe and the influx of refugees into another country have their own inevitable laws for the development of the situation, which work always and everywhere. No matter how someone would like to think differently and see the world through rose-coloured glasses.

And this headache can be solved only in one way: resettlement in the country where the refugees came from. At least a million, as Erdogan wants, because this is the amount that will allow to ensure the safety of immigrants and create human conditions for them to settle down.

And the further this issue is drawn, the more economic, social and domestic problems arise for Ankara. Although, its opponents are only glad to see that. Therefore, Erdogan, going for the 'twisting of arms' is quite in his own right. International and interstate relations is an area where one does not have to think much about morality. The Turkish president has his own country's interests to think about. And, honestly, who has the slightest right to judge him for that?

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