We may be getting a glimpse inside the long game that the Tyrant of Turkey is playing. As Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues his military push into the northeastern Syrian border region, he’s simultaneously touting a Syrian refugee resettlement program that has nearly every international observer scratching their heads. During a speech yesterday, Erdogan announced that he plans to resettle up to a million refugees currently living in his country in the twenty-mile wide border region he’s currently burning to the ground. (Associated Press)
In the face of widespread international criticism for his military foray into northern Syria, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan remains defiant, standing by his pledge to return as many refugees as possible to a border corridor that will be carved out by force.
“We will rebuild an area for 1 million people, for those who want to return to their country and don’t have a home to go back to,” he told members of his governing party on Thursday to widespread applause…
Opponents of Turkey’s offensive into northern Syria argue that the assault is purely aimed at driving out Kurdish fighters and U.S. lawmakers have warned of potential sanctions. The word betrayal is doing the rounds as Kurdish fighters proved pivotal in the fight against the Islamic State group.
The resettlement scheme is currently being described as “voluntary” but sources inside the country are expressing concerns that people will be pressured to “volunteer” to return to their home country. This could apply to some who have been living legally in Turkey for years, including those who have married and now have families there.
Was this part of Erdogan’s plan all along? He doesn’t want to have to keep supporting the millions of refugees currently living in his country, despite the fact that Turkish law makes it mandatory that they are given refuge. He obviously wants to wipe out the Kurds near his border and has made that clear all along, but this could be a case of killing two birds with one tank division. Kill off the Kurds and rid himself of unwanted guests all with one invasion.
Erdogan had a reply to criticism coming from Europe about his invasion. If they keep calling it an invasion, he threated to “open the floodgates” for millions of Syrian and Iraqui refugees to stream through Turkey and into mainland Europe. Turkey has been the only thing stopping the mass migration from exploding even further, so that’s some powerful leverage. Perhaps that explains why the United Nations Security Council failed to pass a resolution condemning the invasion.
But the resettlement plan is being widely panned as totally impractical if not impossible. Among the questions being raised is how he plans to bus a million people into that region. And more to the point, what will they do when they get there? The cities are being bombed and burned, so where would the returning refugees live? He would need to build housing for a million people at costs that would run into the tens of billions of dollars. Power lines, potable water supplies and all of the other infrastructure required to support the new residents would need to be established. Where would he come up with the money?
All of these questions remain unanswered. The only other alternative would be to pack up the refugees and essentially dump them out in the cold in the middle of a war zone. That doesn’t sound like much of a resettlement plan.
While we’re on the subject, it’s worth pointing out that the Turkish forces are “clearing out” areas inhabited by Christians, also. This entire affair is rapidly turning into an international disaster that was totally preventable.