Feb 15 2019

Turkey might allow Syrian refugees to go to Europe - newspaper

The Turkish government is considering opening its borders to allow Syrian refugees to travel to Europe as the European Union opposes Ankara’s plan to establish what it calls a safe zone in northeastern Syria, pro-government daily Yeni Şafak said on Friday. 

The United States and the European Union are sabotaging Turkey’s plans to establish a safe zone to the east of the River Euphrates as a way to help four million Syrians in Turkey return to their homeland, Yeni Şafak said. 

In response, Turkey is considering abandoning a 2016 refugee deal between Turkey and the EU, it said, on the grounds that the EU has failed to fulfil the terms of the agreement.

“If the resistance against a safe zone continues, the borders will be opened in full to refugees that want to go to Europe. Moreover, the strict surveillance mechanism, aiming to prevent those who want to go to Europe by sea, will be loosened,” Yeni Şafak said. 

According to Can Baydarol, an expert on Turkey-EU relations, refugees are the only issue on which Brussels will avoid taking risks. “In that sense, Turkey has important leverage in its hand. If the promises made for the establishment of the safe zone are not fulfilled, Turkey will not only bring forward the possibility of cancelling the refugee deal as it did before, it will also act that way,” he told Yeni Şafak.