RELEASE: In Latest Voices from Turkey Essay, Scholar Argues Erdoğan Using Syrian Refugee Crisis to Hold Europe Hostage
Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress, the Istanbul Policy Center, and the Istituto Affari Internazionali released the fifth in a series of essays written by prominent Turkish intellectuals on the big issues affecting Turkey. The series—called “Voices from Turkey”—is part of Turkey 2023, a trilateral initiative that aims to outline a long-term prosperity vision for Turkey, explore its role in Europe and the trans-Atlantic relationship, assess the state of the republic and its institutions, and examine its position in the region and the world 100 years after its foundation.
With more than 1 million people displaced, the Syrian refugee crisis is the largest such issue in Europe since the end of World War II. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has placed his nation at the center of the conflict and successfully coerced European leaders into playing by his rules, despite the negative impacts on the European Union and the lives of those seeking refuge. Professor Behlül Özkan argues that Erdoğan has exploited Turkey’s position as both a heavy supporter of rebel efforts to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and as the primary recipient Syrian refugees to squeeze concessions from European leaders, extend his influence into Syria, and legitimize his authoritarian control over Turkey.
The Voices from Turkey series will continue with forthcoming essays particularly on Turkish foreign policy toward the Middle East.
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