Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu is threatening to send 15,000 migrants to Europe per month to punish Europe in the wake of the diplomatic row over rejected Turkish ministers and the refusal to liberalize visas for Turkish citizens. Turkey’s threat to blow up the migrant agreement takes advantage of Europe’s fears and woes, but the reality in the country tells a little different story.
Refugees from the areas of Syria and Iraq where the war is ongoing aren’t crossing the Turkish border. Civilians fleeing cities like Mosul or from the countryside near Raqqa are seeking shelter in makeshift structures in the surrounding regions or in villages considered safe for the moment.
Compared with the open border policy Ankara instituted less than two years ago, the southern border today is guarded by the army, which has recently opened fire on people trying to cross the fences. But the new border control policies aren’t the only things making Turkey less attractive. The internal instability in a country crossed by violent political and ethnic tensions is another deterring factor, combined with the sense that the country is now at maximum capacity.