Roles of Turkey in the refugee crisis on borders of Belarus and Europe

Several thousand people are currently trying to enter the EU territory from Belarus through the Polish border.

Translation Unit
Academic Board of the Center

Several thousand people are currently trying to enter the EU territory from Belarus through the Polish border. Many of them arrived by plane in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, Poland soldiers and border guards seek to prevent them from crossing into the country by all means. What is the role of Ankara government in the crisis?

The European Union, in particular takes the responsibility of for escalating the situation of the Polish-Belarusian border on Alexander Lukashenko Governor of Belarus. Poland and other EU countries accuse Belarusian leadership of luring people’s aspiring to travel to the EU and bringing them to the border in order to respond to latest EU sanctions against the country.

Flights from Istanbul to Minsk

But the third Country, which is not a member of European Union such as Turkey ,is also in focus circle. The reason is that: the government of Ankara did not ban flights to Belarusian capital. There are several direct flights to Minsk from Istanbul Airport every day, and the passengers on these flights are refugees.



In Berlin and Brussels (base of the European Commission) has feared of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is using those people who are seeking to protection as a political pressure cards. According to Manfred Weber, the leader of the European People's Party (EPP), if Erdoğan tries to "take bribery from the EU due to several migrant flights to Belarus", it will need a "clear and unambiguous response".

Refugees as a game of politics

Feeling of mistrust towards Ankara is due to a similar situation already occurring in March of 2020: after Turkish president announced that he would "open the border gates", thousands of refugees made their way to Turkish border with Greece. Chaos erupted with Greek border police, who fired tear gas at the refugees and used water cannons. The Turkish president tried to increase pressure on Brussels in order to urge EU countries to pay promised money, which was supposedly not paid at that time under so-called refugee agreement with Turkey.

Denial by Ankara

An official from Turkish Foreign Ministry confirmed to that there are no agreed flights with refugees from Turkey to Belarus. The official also indicated that Turkey had committed itself to cooperating with the European Union authorities on the issue of refugees. Turkish Airlines also denied in an official statement that it purposely transported refugees to Belarus.

Turkey’s capacity in receiving refugees

It can be said that there are not any countries in the world has taken in more refuges than Turkey. There are about four million refugees in the country from Syria alone. The rise of Taliban movement to power in Afghanistan caused another refugee waves. According to official announcements, about 30,000 Afghans have entered Turkey so far, despite massive border protection, especially on Turkey's eastern border. The Turkish government constantly declares that the country's capacity to receive migrants and refugees has long been declined. Therefore, exodus of refugees from Turkey to other countries such as Belarus cannot be a troublesome thing for the Turkish government, at least.

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