Syrian Refugees: Ankara’s Trump Card Against Europe

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In March of this year, Turkey came to an agreement with the European Union (EU) on Syrian migration. In return for $6 billion in aid assistance, visa-free travel for Turks within the EU, and a promise to restart Turkey’s E.U. accession talks, Turkey agreed to restrict the number of Syrian immigrants traveling to Europe. This deal has come under scrutiny recently over concerns that Turkey has committed human rights violations in its purge of suspected plotters following the attempted military coup this July. However, the agreement represents the newfound diplomatic leverage that Turkey holds over the E.U. by virtue of its proximity to the Syrian crisis. The Cipher Brief sat down with former member of the Turkish Parliament and Foundation for the Defense of Democracies Senior Fellow, Aykan Erdemir, to discuss Turkey’s role in the Syrian crisis and the pitfalls and opportunities that presents.

The Cipher Brief: What is the current situation of the displaced Syrians in Turkey? How has the Syrian refugee crisis shaped Turkish politics and society over the past five years?

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