On February 28, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey “opened the doors” to Europe, warning that “millions” of immigrants would soon be flocking towards the European Union (EU). Over 35.000 refugees gathered at the Greek border only to be stuck there without shelter in the rain and cold upon arrival. Multiple European leaders have expressed their criticism of Turkey using refugees as a bargaining chip. EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell said that “Turkey has a big burden … and we have to understand that […] but at the same time, we cannot accept that migrants are being used as a source of pressure”. Nevertheless, the EU is willing to provide more money to Turkey, financially rewarding the behavior they condemn. A short history of the EU’s external deals shows how this situation evolved.
In this week’s news highlights: Eritrean football players flee during tournament in Uganda; Businessman involved in corruption scandal in South Sudan; 4000 displaced people are missing in South-Sudan; New Food Price List set by the Eritrean government; Only three additional countries participate in relocation system; EU officials visit Turkey, followed by Turkish invasion of Northern-Syria; UN warns of setbacks in battle against statelessness; Italian coast guard finds 13 bodies in the Mediterranean Sea; Asylum process to be cut down to four months in Italy; Human trafficker participated in migration meeting in Italy; Protests against detention centres in Libya supported by Swiss MPs; and EU delegation pushes for closures of detention centres in Libya.
Over the summer, Greece has seen an increase in refugees arriving at the shores of Greek Islands. 7,000 people have arrived at the Greek Islands in August alone, bringing the number of refugees and migrants on the islands up to 24,000 people. However, the amount of people coming to Greece might further intensify, as the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced plans of sending refugees to Europe. The situation is expected to be considered at the United Nations General Assembly from September 17 until September 30.