Is Europe ready for a big and new immigration wave?

Refugees are the soft underbelly of European governments because of the negativities brought by migration and the current public opinion. Aware of this reality, Erdogan has recently threatened European countries, especially Germany’s Merkel, with the “refugees”, upon which they stepped back and enabled him to extort concessions.

Western public opinion is divided and troubled by refugees. The acts of radical Islamist terror organisations and Islamophobic media coverage have a significant effect on increasing the anxieties of Europeans. This also results in the rise of the extreme right-wing in the West, the resurrection of racism, and discrimination breaking through to the streets. Negative data about unemployment, economic deterioration, terrorism, declining welfare and security data are primarily associated with migrants. Refugees are the soft underbelly of European governments because of the negativities brought by migration and current public opinion.

Aware of this reality, Erdogan has recently threatened European countries, especially Germany’s Merkel, with the refugees, upon which they stepped back and enabled him to extort concessions. At worst, he lowered the dosage of criticisms that could develop against him and persuaded them to negotiate with him.

But a greater ‘danger’ is approaching. Europe can be exposed to a more intense immigration wave. Moreover, this time the immigration wave seems to come from a country by the border. Not from a middle-sized country like Syria, the West is face to face with an immigration threat from a country of 80 million! Today, this rapidly approaching danger seems to come from a country that is currently negotiating with the EU, a member of the EU Parliament: it appears to come from Turkey.

Including the different voices within the AKP, anyone who does not fully adhere to Erdogan in Turkey is not safe; they do not feel secure. Erdogan alienates and deems everyone an enemy to keep the country under his control. He does not leave any room for opposition parties. We are not talking about an independent media, freedom of thought, democratic inaction. Turkey is rapidly becoming a country where most fundamental rights, right to life, and even breathing for some are denied to its citizens. A total genocide has been put in action on the Hizmet movement; the number of people suspended from their jobs and shoved into prisons is exceeding hundreds of thousands. Some people from the Hizmet Movement were able to go abroad and sought refuge in certain countries. However, these were more qualified people, thus we can call it a brain-drain-migration, and their numbers were symbolic. Most of these people – said to be about 5 to 6.000 – have taken refuge in Germany. But unless a measure is taken, unless someone says STOP to authoritarianism, to not leaving any room for opposition, and to the policies constricting life, many people from different parts of the society will soon hinge upon the gates of Europe’s democratic countries.

Who are these people?

Everyone who does not comply with Erdogan. The Kurds, the Alevis, the Kemalists, the secular segments and some other Islamic communities which are increasingly being seen as a threat by Erdogan.

During his discussions with the PKK, Erdogan was overlooking PKKs gathering of militants, the large build-up of weapons everywhere and the settlements in Syria. After the lasting ‘spring air’ with the PKK was over, he razed the areas densely populated by the Kurds under the name of “battle against the PKK”. Many settlements have become uninhabitable. He arrested and imprisoned Kurdish politicians, and he got the MPs arrested. He assigned trustees to boroughs under the HDP party. He has also effectively destroyed Kurds utmost confidence in the state. He especially wiped out the younger generation’s sense of belonging to the country. He did not acknowledge HDP voters as anything other than enemies of Turkey who want to break off and leave.

Operations and arrests are spreading quickly towards the Alevis. The Alevi newspapers and TVs, except for Turkish and Kurdish leftists (their Nationalist- pro-Ergenekon allies), were shut down, and their journalists were imprisoned. Existing fault lines on the Alevi-Sunni and Turkish-Kurdish tension are deepening. The different social segments, different identities and senses of belonging are estranged and humiliated by the great media power and internet trolls controlled by the power elites; they are provoked with sharp insults and profanity. In the meantime, as understood from the troll accounts, AKP is now preparing to confront religious communities that have not cooperated with AKP but who are following a silence policy.

Erdoğan established paramilitary structures under the name of SADAT and armed them. He is fuelling his audience with hatred and enmity; he is targeting each opponent by labelling them as a ” traitor”, “heretic”, “Israeli / US / British keeper”, “Western agent” There is not a single intellectual, thinker, writer, opinion leader, or media left that represent sanity in Turkey, who can stop this insane process. They have either been jailed or chosen to withdraw into their shells.

Due to the AKP’s tension, polarisation and collision policy, the country is rapidly drifting into a civil war setting. Those who want to reconfigure the Middle East and draw new maps may favour this chaos. After all, up until the present-day Imperial forces have caused disarray before changing the maps, then stepped in and re-drawn the maps, and established stability according to the new situation. However, if Turkey surrenders to chaos/civil war, it is not possible to predict how long it will take and how much it will hurt whom.

One does not need to be a fortune teller to see that Turkey will soon become another Syria, that the state will fail to protect people’s lives and properties and the economy will completely collapse and a civil war will emerge if the current situation continues. However, the cost of this will not be limited to Turkey. It will have a serious effect on all of Europe. A country of eighty million people will want to leave if they come face to face with a civil war or if the people mentioned above become openly concerned about their life and safety. In such a case, people will rush to Greece, Bulgaria and other European countries in large numbers, incomparable to last year’s refugee crisis. A collapsing sense of security and economy in Turkey will have a substantial impact on Europe in every way.

The Erdogan-led AKP government is precariously playing with all the balances in Turkey. If this process is forced a little more, terrorist organisations based on a sociological base (Kurds, Alevis) may gain significant support from the masses. Armed terrorist groups like the PKK, DHKP/C, TİKKO may completely embark on the field. SADAT-type illegal and paramilitary groups – that the government tries to use – and people with nationalist sentiments may want to “combat” with them. The country will turn into an unsafe swamp if the society stops relying on the state and the police and seek other ways of ensuring their safety. A picture like this will put Europe, which kneels in front of Erdogan with a bluff, in a situation that it is unable to cope with; face to face with waves of immigration.

Turkey is rapidly heading towards chaos and destabilisation. Are the thriving governments and people who do not compromise their prosperity, and who do not pay attention to the endless persecutions – except for minor reproaches to human rights abuses – aware of this danger?

What kind of precautions are they considering for this?

Tomorrow, when hundreds of thousands and millions of people start fleeing from state persecution and come to their doors, what kind of solutions do they have in mind other than sinking their ships, abandoning people to death on the seas and closing their borders?

© 2017 Turkey Institute