Throwing a Block onto Erdogan's Refugee Stunt

Turkey's president will no longer stop “Syrian” refugees from fleeing into Europe.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country's borders with Europe were open Saturday, making good on a longstanding threat to let refugees into the continent as thousands of migrants gathered at the frontier with Greece. - ABC News

The first thing to notice is that not all of these refugees are from war-torn Syria.

Greek officials arrested 66 migrants Friday, 17 of whom were sentenced to 3.5 years in jail for entering the country illegally. All Afghans, they were are [sic] the first migrants sentenced for illegal entry since 2014.  - ABC News

But, for the moment, let’s assume for argument’s sake that most of these refugees are “Syrian.”

Turkey is in an unenviable position. Most ot the “Syrian” refugees from their civil war have been dumped on Turkey, and Turkey is saddled with a major problem.

Turkey ... supported a Syrian refugee population that exceeded 3.6 million people. - PBS FRONTLINE


Likewise, Lebanon and Jordan are also hammered with Syrian refugees.

If the Palestinians are any indication or precedent, Turkey knows full well that those Syrians may never be welcomed back into Syria, nor assimilated into other Muslim nations, which seem to operate under the presumption that possession is nine-tenths of the law. Any nation stuck with Muslim refugees gets to keep them.

These Syrians will become the new Palestinians, and Turkey does not want that.

What is happening is an echo of the 1948 war with Israel.

Whether one supports Israel – as I do – or whether one does not, the Sunni Palestinians who fled the area in 1948 [or who were chased out – it does not matter for the purposes of this discussion], were not allowed to return to Israel. In the Mideast, demographics is king, and Israel replaced the Arabs with Jewish refugees from Arab countries.

Likewise, Syria is presently settling Shia in areas that were formerly under hostile Sunni control, indicating that many Sunni will NOT be allowed back to Syria, even as Israel refused to allow Sunnis back after the Israeli War of Independence, and after 1967.

New communities are settling in areas where Sunnis have fled or been forced out as Tehran seeks an arc of control stretching from its borders to Israel  - The Guardian


In 1948, those Palestinians stranded outside Israel were allowed to fester, and keep the Mideast embroiled for decades. Likewise, Turkey does not want to be permanently saddled with Syria’s problem. And the last seven decades of Mideast history has shown that Muslims will not yield on this point.

Of course the underlying problem lies with Islam.

Shia-Iran supported the Shia-friendly Syrian Alawite regime of Bashar Assad. The Saudis, fearful of Iran, supported extremist-Sunni rebel groups. Iran would love to see a Shia-friendly arc of influence along the Persian Gulf, so that they could dominate the region and destroy Israel. The Shia – and the Christians who tended to see the Alawite and Shia as the less of two evils – were fearful of intolerant Sunnis.

Ultimately, the Syrian civil war exploded because of Iranian interference. Had Iran kept out of it, the Assad regime would have collapsed of its own weight. The Saudis would not have had to support Islamic extremists to counter Iran.

Now, Turkey could have stayed out of this as well. They had enough of a military to keep their border sealed, But Turkey chose to butt its nose into the situation, even going so far as to try and work out a military deal with Iran.  All of this is thanks to Erdogan’s desire to re-install a new Turkish-led Caliphate. So Turkey tried to set up a Sunni protectorate in northern Syria.

However, Turkey’s Sunni sympathies are not compatible with Syria’s/Iran’s Shia sympathies. Ulitmately, Erdogan’s vision of a Sunni Mideast is not compatible the Tehran’s vision of Shia supremacy, and so violence has recently emerged between Syria and Turkey.

Syria war: Alarm after 33 Turkish soldiers killed in attack in Idlib - BBC

Turkey – with a degree of truth behind it – blames the West for destablizing Syria; but ignores that Islam is the greater culprit in the disaster. Israel blames Iran for meddling in Syria.  And the European Union, as always, is screwing everything up.

Now, Erdogran is blaming the EU for not subsidizing Turkey to help support the migrants in Syria.

There is a solution to this and it beings with laying the blame on Islam. Muslims seem unable to generate stable societies. They have no ability to compromise, and their societies are always internally in conflict.

1) The West should inform Turkey that Greece will be helped to secure its borders. Make it clear that this is only a defensive border sealing.

2) Inform the Syrians, Turks, and Iranians that the problem is not European imperialism – nor Israeli aggression - but Islamic insanity. And make sure to address the issue that Spain was under Islamic imperial occupation for eight centuries, while the Balkans were under occupation for six centuries. So cries of continuing European imperialism – which was rather limited and short – will ring hollow.

3) Inform these countries that commercial, political, and economic isolation of all three – Syria, Turkey, and Iran – will be imposed until all three sort this mess out themselves. It is not Europe’s responsibility to assist until both Iran and Turkey stop pressing for a restoration of competing (Shia vs Sunni) Caliphates.

4) Inform Turkey and Syria – Iran, right now, is hopeless – that any and all aid will be conditioned on acceptance of Israel’s right to exist, and naturalization of Palestinians within their borders.

Wouldn’t that leave Turkey saddled with 3.6 million Syrians? Yes, and arguably, this is not right, either. But Lebanon is overrun with Syrians, too; and is in a more precarious position given Lebanon’s small and fragile demographics.

Just inform the Mideast that if Turkey collides with Iran over which version of a Caliphate is preferable, then Europe will not absorb the overflow. Just isolate all three: Turkey, Iran, and Syria until this mess is sorted out.

President Trump understands this technique. He is presently isolating Iran and Lebanon. No money at all to anyone until Turkey and Iran both stop interferring in Syria. No aid to Syria until Assad resigns. This is what the French used to call a Cordon Sanitaire: a quarantine. None of those three regimes are stable, and the costs of isolation would be collapse.

Maybe the EU should take a hint from a master of the deal.

Image credit: Pixabay public domain

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