One hour after 34 Turkish soldiers were killed in Idlib, Syria’s last rebel-held bastion, Turkey opened its borders to Greece, prompting thousands of migrants to head for the frontier in the hope of crossing into Europe.
Berkay Mandıracı, Crisis Group’s Turkey expert and our guest on War & Peace, sheds light on what triggered Ankara’s decision, what implications it could have on the fragile 2016 migration deal with the EU and what can be done at this critical moment to strengthen rapidly declining EU-Turkey relations.
One thing is clear: as the humanitarian situation on the Turkey-Greece border and in Idlib deteriorates and the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic grows, cooperation between the EU and Turkey is growing ever more urgent. Joint work to help refugees and migrants is the most promising place to restart it.
For more information, see Berkay’s recent commentary: Sharing the Burden: Revisiting the EU-Turkey Migration Deal