REPORT AT A GLANCE
“They say, ‘Do not open the gates.’ I told them months ago that ‘if you do not share this burden with us, we will open the gates’”, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated on March 2, 2020. While Erdoğan has in previous years announced similar warnings, however, on February 28, 2020, he ordered the opening of the borders to Greece, allowing a vast number of refugees and asylum-seekers from Syria, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq to leave Turkey and cross the border to Greece.
> The 2016 migration deal has weakened the EU’s position and has made it susceptible to Erdoğan’s threats. It has also appointed Erdoğan to the powerful role of Europe’s gatekeeper.
> President Erdoğan is using his position and strategic timing to weaponize refugees and use them as a bargaining chip to promote his agenda.
> The EU is holding on to the migration deal, however, so far, Europe’s foreign ministers reject Erdoğan’s demands for further financial aid.
> The EU shares responsibility and should uphold the rights of asylum seekers and refugees, protected under international law.