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Why Ankara’s Syrian refugee threat has lost its impact

The “refugee crisis” that Ankara triggered at the Greek border has come to an end, as it failed to create the desired impact on Europe.
A migrant walks near Turkey's Pazarkule border crossing with Greece's Kastanies, in Edirne, Turkey, March 10, 2020. REUTERS/Murad Sezer - RC2WGF9OOAQ1
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The governor’s office in Turkey’s western border province of Edirne announced March 17 that 147,132 migrants had crossed into EU territory from the province since Feb. 28, when Ankara said it would no longer stop refugees from moving on to Europe. The statement might have been passed over as routine were it not an implicit declaration that Turkey’s “operation” of sending refugees to Europe via Greece had tacitly come to an end.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had confirmed Feb. 29 that the operation was underway, saying, “We had said months ago that we would be forced to open the gates if it went on like this. They didn’t believe us. And what did we do yesterday? We did open the gates. The number [of migrants crossing the border] has reached 18,000 as of this morning.” Stressing his resolve, he added, “We will keep the gates open in the coming period and this will continue.”

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