For decades Turkey has adopted a policy of pawning off its Kurdish problem on Europe. Indeed since the 1960s waves of Kurdish migrants and refugees made their way to the European mainland. Now, a senior European Union (EU) source has told Breitbart London that the latest deal between Turkey and the EU could see a new increase in the numbers of Kurds being pushed out of Turkey and into EU member states.
Indeed over 85 per cent of the Kurdish diaspora in Western countries comes from Turkey, which has long-issued temporary visas for European mainland countries that it has visa-free agreements with – Macedonia and Bosnia being key examples.
A European Commission source has told Breitbart London that the latest deal, which offers Turkey €3 billion and visa liberalisation with EU member states will lead to Turkey exporting more of their internal Kurdish problems to Europe.
To give you an idea of the complexity, since the heinous terrorist attack on pro-Kurdish activists in Turkey last week, fingers have been pointed in multiple directions. The Turkish government blamed ISIS, others have blamed a laissez-faire attitude towards protecting Kurds, whereas one of the senior figures affected by the attack didn’t mince his words: “From our perspective, this is not a dark and deep attack or an attack which is launched by external forces”.
This was a thinly veiled charged levelled at the Turkish authorities themselves.
Germany’s population of Kurds is currently half a million, compared with around 2.5 million non-Kurdish Turkish nationals. Clashes between the two groups has led to rioting on the streets, and a kind of ethnic violence that we are not used to seeing this side of the Mediterranean. The same is happening in Sweden, with its Kurdish population of around 80,000, and its Turkish population of around 100,000.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity to Breitbart London, one senior EU source, who deals with migration and security-related issues told us: “The Turks have been issuing one year passes so [Kurds] could move to Macedonia and Bosnia… they have visa-free agreements with them… and they in turn have visa-free access to EU member states.”
What a difference two decades makes. There was outrage when Italy failed to detain just 2,500 Kurds in 1997. And there are parallels with today too: “The EU on January 26, 1998 announced a 43-point plan to reduce the migration of Kurds into the EU”. Despite the bureaucrats’ best efforts, the migration was not reduced.
And Turkey continues to encourage Kurdish people to move as a priority. The country has been at war with its Kurdish population, specifically with the proscribed terrorist PKK group, since the 1980s. But its hard to distinguish the “terrorists” from Kurdish political activists, so interlinked are they.
Anti-ISIS protests in London are packed to the gunwales with PKK activists and communist-sympathisers, and even the HDP, whose rally was targeted by the bombings in Ankara last week, will admit that many of its activists and figures have family members in the PKK.
“They encourage Kurds [to leave]. Even one Kurd out of Turkey is considered a good thing,” said our source.
He said the Turkish authorities have been working in conjunction with people smugglers, at the worst colluding, at best turning a blind eye, so migrants can easily use Turkey as a transit country: “Turkish police are involved with people smugglers,” he said, adding that in the mid-2000s, there were around 400 people a month using this route to get into Europe.
This appears to be backed up by the University of California’s Migration News site, which as far back as 1998 noted:
Most of the Kurds arriving in Italy reportedly paid about $3,000 each for passage from Turkey to Italy; many make contact with smugglers in the Kucuk Pazar waterfront section of Istanbul…
Other Kurds pay $300 to $600 for rides from Istanbul to the 80-mile Turkish-Greek border, then they cross into Greece in small boats. If caught by Turkish authorities attempting to cross into Greece, most Kurds are released after a brief hearing before state prosecutors…
Finally, some foreigners use Turkish passports and visas to enter Germany or France. Genuine passports, reportedly bought from Turkish police, have pictures and visas inserted for up to $3,000. In response to the EU, Turkey began to round up Iraqi Kurds in Istanbul in January, prompting UNHCR to express concern that Turkey may “arbitrarily detain or forcibly return” the Iraqis to persecution.
This, taken in context, raising questions as to the timing of the new Turkey-EU announcement.
With Turkish elections on the horizon, President Erdogan could very much use a promise of a massive injection of cash for his country, together with anti-Kurdish rhetoric, to secure his position in the next few weeks. He is in the weakest place he has been in a decade, and Kurdish parties have been on the rise.
The fact that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is visiting him today is no surprise either, and would simply be unacceptable in most Western democracies so close to an election.
“They’ll give Turkish passports to all the [Kurds from Iraq and Syria] who come to Turkey, and use the €3bn to pay for it. They been giving out Turkish passports freely since 2001, and are looking to move Kurds out,” the EU source said.
This makes sense when considering the EU is, as a part of its “action plan” with Turkey, set to receive “visa liberalisation” with European Member States by 2016.
What is being billed by European leaders as a bid to try and curb migration may actually end up with more people – there are around 15 million Kurds in Turkey alone – moving to EU member states.
And Kurdish migration to Europe has not been peaceful and successful either.
It may not be long until these clashes become commonplace across Europe.