It looks like Turkey is playing the refugee blackmail game again.
Turkey has threatened to tear up the migrant deal it agreed with the European Union last year as the diplomatic row between Ankara and the Netherlands intensifies.
. . .
The renewed threats to scrap the deal follow days of tension between Turkey and various European countries including Austria, Germany and the Netherlands as the countries oppose Turkish ministers campaigning for the upcoming constitutional referendum aiming to give President Recep Tayyip Erdogan greater powers.
. . .
Revising the EU migrant deal has become somewhat of a bargaining chip for Turkey, which has threatened to scrap it on a number of occasions ... Under the terms of the deal, Turkey is to receive funds and concessions in return for it taking back all migrants that arrived in Greece after 20 March last year and were rejected asylum. In addition, for each Syrian returned, one of the three million Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey will be legally flown to Europe.
There's more at the link.
I pointed out last year that Turkey was effectively holding Europe to ransom over the refugee crisis - and succeeding. However, I also noted that this was basically Europe's own fault, for treating Turkey so badly in preceding years. Payback, and all that.
Turkey's President Erdogan may be an autocrat, a dictatorial anti-democrat, a Muslim fundamentalist and an exploiter of his official position for his own and his family's financial gain; but he's also a smart operator. He knows he's got Europe by the short and curlies on the refugee issue. 2015 saw the continent almost overwhelmed by a wave of Syrian and Third World refugees (most of whom weren't refugees at all). Only when Europe agreed to buy Erdogan's cooperation with several billion dollars in what were, effectively, bribes, did he turn off the taps and reduce the crisis to more manageable proportions.
Now he's threatening to turn them back on again, knowing that if he does, Europe cannot and will not be able to cope with the renewed crisis. It's already sparked domestic political upheavals in several European nations. Those would intensify and expand, and probably lead to a resurgence in right-wing political power across the continent. Right-wing governments would not cave in to Erdogan's demands, but on the other hand, he's got his own power base in Turkey, and is relatively secure there. He knows that if he threatens the left-wing and centrist power base in Europe, politicians there are unwilling to stand up to him. He's taking full advantage of that.
Rudyard Kipling said it well.
It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say: --
"Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away."
And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we've proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.
Hmmm . . . I didn't know Erdogan was a Danish name!