Refugee Crisis Puts Greece-Turkey Relations to the Test

tsipras davutogluGreece-Turkey relations are about to be put to the test on March 6, when Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will participate in the European Union summit on the refugee crisis.

Athens is considering that the key to stemming the refugee influx is that refugees are registered in Turkey and that Ankara takes steps to stop people smugglers who operate across its shores.

So far, Turkey has not fulfilled its obligations based on the agreement made with the European Commission. Ankara is to receive substantial financial aid in order to have hotspots established across its shores and dismantle people-smuggler gangs.

Last week, Davutoglu failed to appear at the EU summit because of a terrorist attack on its soil. Analysts say that Turkey is blackmailing Europe to stop the establishment if an autonomous or semiautonomous Kurdish state on Turkey’s border with Syria, using the refugee crisis as leverage. Furthermore, it is very likely that Ankara will not appear cooperative in the summit.

The situation between Greece and Turkey is getting more complicated as on March 4 Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is expected in Athens to meet with his Greek counterpart Nikos Kotzias in order to prepare the Greek-Turkish High Cooperation Council which is scheduled for March 8 in Izmir.

Analysts say that if in the EU summit it is decided that Greece’s northern borders will close, the High Cooperation Council will be very difficult for Greece. If Turkey does not cooperate on the refugee issue, then dozens of thousands of refugees and migrants will be stranded in Greece. Furthermore, Turkey is more than likely to refuse to take any of the migrants back.