The first time Turkey threatened to break its pact with the European Union on migrants was on April 19, exactly one month and one day after signing it. Then-Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (dismissed a few days later by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan) warned that if Brussels didn’t hurry to liberalize visas for Turkish citizens by June then Ankara would no longer hold back the three million Syrian refugees in its borders.
Periodically agitated by Erdogan, the possibility of a new wave of refugee arrivals has returned to worry Europe. Signed March 18, the agreement with Turkey stipulates that Ankara will prevent refugees from leaving for Greece in exchange for €6 billion and some important political concessions, first and foremost the ability of Turkish citizens to move freely within the Schengen zone.
Brussels has been relieved to find the agreement has so far worked, noting a decline in the number of arrivals in Greece from about 10,000 a day at its 2015 peak to just a few dozen. All of this, of course, comes at the expense of those who continue to dream of Europe.