Turkey has often been accused of having porous borders, with nearly all non-local ISIS members traveling through the NATO approved caliphate before entering the skirmish in Syria or Iraq. Due to this dubious track record, many are alarmed to hear that Turkey’s new maritime and military treaty with Libya places them responsible for a point of entrance over 1 million illegal immigrants attempt to use to enter Europe through southern Italy each year.
Feeling cut off from America over the conflict in Syria, excluded from Israel and Greece’s pipeline deal, and fighting off with the UAE, Russian, and Egypt in Libya, Turkey’s power-play gives the state much needed negotiation power.
We often discuss migration as a reaction to Western policies, such as in Syria, but a confidential internal security report from EU police and border agencies, leaked at the time, stated 900,000 illegal immigrants were entering the EU every year. Given population growth as well as regional instability, the number of entrance attempts has only increased in the last decade.
Look for dramatic actions in the upcoming weeks to take place in the East Med, as the EU will be unable to allow Erdogan to repeat Muammar Gaddafi’s famous threat to “turn Europe black” if Libya was not given $5 billion a year.