Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to reporters before a visit to the United States, in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019. Erdogan warned European nations Tuesday that his country could release all the Islamic State group prisoners it holds and send them to Europe, in response to EU sanctions over Cyprus.(Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan returned to blackmail when he spoke with European countries, this time using ISIS prisoners imprisoned in his country for political gain. He talked about “opening the gates” for them to Europe.
The new threat by Erdogan on Tuesday, a few days after renewing his threat to European countries to open doors to immigrants to Europe, if Brussels fails to support him in the safe area and receive refugees. These statements show that Erdogan relies on methods of blackmail in managing relations with European countries, rather than diplomacy and negotiations, although it concluded with him an agreement on immigrants years ago. According to the “Associated Press”, Erdogan said that Ankara will continue to release ISIS Europeans and return them to their country even if the latter refused.
On Monday, A US citizen whose flight Ankara is stuck on the border between Turkey and Greece after Athens refused to enter, according to Turkish news reports. Asked to comment on the reports, Erdogan said: “Whether they are stuck there at the border or not, it doesn’t matter to us. We will continue to send them. Whether they take them or not, it doesn’t matter to us.”
Permit due to penalties
Erdogan’s speech comes a day after the European Union revealed its intention to impose sanctions on Ankara for the exploration of gas in the Mediterranean Sea off Cyprus, a member of the European Union. Brussels stressed that the Turkish exploration is illegal. Turkish exploration ships, accompanied by warships, have been exploring this summer in waters where Cyprus says it has exclusive economic rights, but Turkey says it protects the rights of the Turkish Republic of Cyprus, which is not recognized internationally.
The EU foreign ministers adopted a mechanism that enables “the punishment or participation of individuals or entities responsible for unauthorized hydrocarbon exploration activities.” EU Member States can now provide the names of those they believe should be included in the sanctions arena.
“You have to review your position on Turkey, which holds many ISIS members in prison and controls them in Syria,” Erdogan said.
“These gates will be opened and those ISIS members who have started sending them will continue to be sent to you. Then you can take care of your problem.”
While Turkey quietly deported ISIS sympathizers years ago, it has raised the issue more forcefully these days. Turkey deported US, Danish and German nationals on Monday and announced plans to expel seven other German nationals, two Irish nationals and 11 French nationals. Turkey said last week about 1,200 ISIS militants were in Turkish jails.
The threat of Refugee Paper
Erdogan has been appearing in the media from time to time to threaten and blackmail Europe with a flood of Syrian refugees unless he receives aid and support for the safe area he seeks to establish on his country’s southern border.
In March 2016, the EU-Turkey agreement to stop the flow of migrants into bloc countries came into force. The deal was meant to stop one of the most pressing problems for the European Union: the exodus of millions of asylum seekers from countries in war. Erdogan did not stop making statements indicating that the EU shirk its responsibilities towards it, according to the agreement.
But a spokeswoman for the European Union confirmed a few months ago that Turkey was granted 5.6 billion euros under the agreement, adding that “the remaining balance scheduled to be sent soon.”