A migrant rights NGO and Greek government officials warn that the crackdown on opposition by Turkey’s president could lead to a huge wave of Turks and others flooding into Europe.
Non-governmental organisation (NGO) Pro-Asyl, a migrant rights group, are warning that the fallout of the massive purges of the army, police, and civil service in Turkey by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan could lead to a huge influx of Turkish migrants.
The group claims that most of the migrants will likely seek refuge in Germany among the already large Turkish population, reports Kurier. Greek politicians are also worried that the purges could lead to instability that in turn could collapse the European Union-Turkey migrant deal.
Deputy director of Pro-Asyl, Bernd Mesovic, told Austrian media: “If the situation continues to deteriorate and the witch-hunt continues against all opposition in Turkey, there will be a movement of refugees towards Europe.”
Mr. Mesovic cited Germany and Austria as the prime destinations for Turkish migrants due to the large existing populations, particularly in Berlin and Vienna.
The effect of the coup may not be immediate but the migration could, over a period of time, be quite large according to Mr. Mesovic. “As long as people have hope for change, they will stay in their country,” he said.
A large exodus of Turkish opponents to the Erdoğan regime may inflame existing tensions between Turks in Germany and Austria. Over the weekend thousands of Turks took to the streets of Vienna, Berlin, and other cities to demonstrate their support for President Erdoğan.
The aftermath has led to Kurds and other Turkish minorities feeling that they are under threat. Pro-Erdoğan protesters even smashed up offices of a group associated with Imam Gülen, the man Mr. Erdoğan claims was behind the failed coup.
The purge of officials in the Turkish police, army, and civil service shows no signs of stopping and has already affected more than 50,000 people who have been arrested, fired, or suspended from their jobs including academics.
Over 1,600 university deans were told to resign from their posts by the government who have, as of Wednesday, imposed a travel ban on university academics to prevent them leaving the country. University employees working overseas have also been told to return to Turkey as soon as possible.
The Greek government are also expressing worry over the instability in Turkey and the effect it may have on the European Union’s migrant deal with Turkey that has largely brought down the number of migrants flooding into Greece.
Greek Migration Minister Ioannis Mouzalas told Greek TV station Skai on Monday night: “It is very likely that the incidents in Turkey may also affect the refugee situation.” Mr. Mouzalas claimed that he didn’t want to create a panic, but said that Athens needs to be properly prepared for a total collapse of the agreement.