EU should focus on Syria, not its Greek border: Turkey

Alaturka Politika Haberleri

By Dilara Hamit

ANKARA (AA) – The EU is trying to help Greece as they clearly see it as the new frontier that needs to prevent Europe’s “invasion” by refugees, Turkey's communications director said Wednesday.

Though it might seem that the refugee crisis has ended for Europe, in fact only its impact on Europe was softened as Turkey shouldered the burden, wrote Fahrettin Altun on Twitter.

Altun said the EU then acted as if everything was fine, all the while ignoring the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria.

"Greece treats refugees horribly and then turns around to blame Turkey. This is the kind of double standards and hypocrisy we have gotten used to over the years,” he wrote in English.

"The country that just suspended temporary protection and tear-gassed migrants has no moral authority to speak of!" he added.

Turkey last week stopped blocking irregular migrants in the country from trying to reach Europe, complaining that the EU failed to keep its pledges to help the migrants.

Altun accused the EU of clinging to a security-oriented approach for nearly the last decade, when the Syria civil war began.

"The EU’s agreement with Turkey in 2016 aimed at preventing the refugee flows into Europe based on the same security-focused mentality instead of a humanitarian one.

"Even then, the EU failed in honoring its commitments in terms of funding, visa liberalization among others," he said.

– ‘EU only focused on migration into Europe’

Altun stressed how Turkey had to adjust its refugee policy to shift resources away from stemming migration to Europe toward focusing on IDPs and refugees coming from Idlib, an embattled province in northwestern Syria just across Turkey’s southern border.

"We have mobilized our national economic and military resources and the EU is still only focused on migration into Europe!" he said.

Altun said Europe and the international community must be mobilized to help with the continuing humanitarian suffering inside Syria.

The Assad regime continues to be belligerent and dangerous and must be stopped, he wrote, referring to Assad regime attacks on Syrian civilians.

"The international community must focus on its efforts on Syria, not Greece!" he said.

Nearly 4 million civilians have been trapped in Idlib due to attacks by the Assad regime, with the support of Russia and Iranian-backed forces in the region.

Turkey launched Operation Spring Shield on Sunday after 34 Turkish soldiers were martyred in an Assad regime airstrike in Idlib.

They were stationed there as part of the 2018 Sochi deal with Russia to protect the civilian population and counter-terrorist groups.

In 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression were expressly prohibited.

But the regime and its allies, including Iranian-backed forces, have consistently broken the terms of the cease-fire, launching frequent attacks inside the territory.

More than 1,300 civilians have been killed in the Idlib de-escalation zone in such attacks, sending upwards of a million refugees towards Turkey's border with Syria.

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