Turkey, thanks to the United Nations, will now officially be in charge of deciding not only who is a refugee but also where he or she will be placed or transferred. Turkish state authorities have repeatedly threatened to flood Europe with refugees. Pictured: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the UN General Assembly. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
Turkey, thanks to the United Nations, will now officially be in charge of deciding not only who is a refugee but also where he or she will be placed or transferred. Turkish state authorities have repeatedly threatened to flood Europe with refugees, such as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's message to Europe in 2016:
"You cried out when 50,000 refugees were at the Kapikule border. You started asking what you would do if Turkey would open the gates. Look at me -- if you go further, those border gates will be open. You should know that."
Given the Turkish threats, this new official position for Turkey should be of concern.
The pro-government Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah recently reported:
"The U.N. refugee agency has handed over the management of registration procedures for the refugees in Turkey to the country's migration authority. Turkey's Directorate General of Migration Management itself will now oversee the registration of refugees and determine their status. Any foreigner seeking international protection in Turkey will now have to apply to the local offices of the Turkish migration authority."
The concern exists for three key reasons.
In March, Erdoğan slammed French President Emmanuel Macron for his offer to mediate between Ankara and Syrian Kurds. He warned:
"With this attitude, France has no right to complain about any terrorist organization, any terrorist, any terrorist attack. Those who sleep with terrorists, welcome them in their palaces, will understand sooner or later the mistake that they made."
In April, hours after a man ploughed his van into pedestrians in Münster, Germany, Erdoğan verbally attacked France again, calling it a "stooge":
"... providing support to terrorism...hosting terrorists at the Elysée Palace... You see what is happening in Germany, right? The same will happen in France. The West will not able to free itself from terror. The West will sink as it feeds these terrorists."
It is not merely threats from Erdoğan that should cause Europe to re-think its lax immigration policies. In recent years, European cities -- such as Manchester, Paris, Brussels, Nice, Copenhagen, London, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Toulouse, Trèbes, Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, Berlin and Stockholm -- have been shaken by deadly jihadist attacks. Since many of the terrorists involved in these attacks were radicalized and recruited by jihadist groups, both in the Middle East and in Europe, unchecked immigration from Muslim-majority countries seems risky.
This is not just speculation. Opinion polls indicate that a large number of Muslims worldwide support terrorism or violence on behalf of Islam. There are also reports that ISIS has been infiltrating operatives into Europe via Greece, by disguising them as migrants among the masses. According to a recent Deutsche Welle documentary, "Terror at the Moria Refugee Camp":
"A group of IS [ISIS] followers are said to be terrorizing people in the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. On the pretext of religious propriety, they brutally punish whoever [sic] they deem criminal.
"Recently more and more refugees from Deir ez-Zor, one of the last strongholds of Islamic State in Syria, have been arriving in the camp. Since then, it seems that crime in the camp has taken on a new quality. A group of Syrians is said to be controlling most of the illegal activities. Anyone who doesn't toe the line or is in the way can expect physical violence or even death threats. The perpetrators often cite Sharia law as their justification. More and more graffiti glorify IS."
Among the countries most at risk of becoming "demographic time bombs," according to a Business Insider report in August, are Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Latvia and the United Kingdom. A low birth rate among Europeans is reportedly one motivation on the part of EU officials for bringing in large numbers of Muslim migrants – to compensate for shrinking European populations. Another motivation has been linked to Europe's aging population. A 2017 opinion piece in Forbes asserted:
"If Western Europe wants to keep its social benefits, the countries of the E.U. are going to need more workers. No place in the world has an older population that's not into baby making than Europe. No wonder policy planners are doing what they can to encourage immigration. Eastern Europe is old."
Such ideas, however, have already been put to the test. Germany, for example, to "fill the demand for cheap labor in a booming post-war economy," took in Turkish laborers. Although the original plan was for these workers to be temporary "to prevent the Turkish guests from becoming immigrants," the policy changed, and the workers were allowed to stay for long periods and bring their families.
As of the end of 2011, according to Deutsche Welle, "around 2.5 million people with a Turkish background live in Germany, meaning either they or their parents were born in Turkey, making them the largest migrant group in the country."
The result became clear in June, when nearly two-thirds of the Turkish community in Germany supported Erdoğan in the presidential election. Ironically, this is far more than the support he received in Turkey itself.
Three months before the election, MP Alparslan Kavaklıoğlu, a member of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), and the head of the parliament's Security and Intelligence Commission, declared that the demography of Europe was changing in favor of Muslims:
"The fortune and wealth of the world is moving from the West to the East. Europe is going through a time that is out of the ordinary. Its population is declining and aging.... But Europe has this problem. All of the newcomers are Muslim. From Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey.... It is now at such a level that the most popular name in Brussels, Belgium is Mohammed. The second most popular name is Melih [Malih] and the third one is Ayşe [Aisha]."
If this trend continues, Kavaklıoğlu said:
"The Muslim population will outnumber the Christian population in Europe... there is no remedy for it. Europe will be Muslim. We will be effective there, Allah willing. I am sure of that."
In 2017, Erdoğan called on Turks residing in Europe to multiply:
"The places where you work and live are your homelands and new countries now... Make five children -- not just three. For you are the future of Europe."
Judging by recent reports, this future does not look so bright for Europeans. According to The Sun,
"Turkish 'police' are now openly patrolling 'Turkish areas' in Berlin... Cars bearing the logo of an elite Turkish police unit have been spotted on the streets of Berlin – but the German authorities say they are powerless to stop them.
"The vehicles have the words Özel Harekat [Special Operation] written on the side and the unit's logo and were seen cruising around areas of German capital with large Turkish populations."
The influx of mass numbers of both refugees and migrants from Islamic dictatorships -- especially when global jihad is on the rise -- has had a profound effect on European culture. In spite of the fantasy still harbored by some Europeans that the immigrants eventually will integrate into the societies of their host countries, the opposite has been the case. Those Europeans who defend mass, unfettered immigration in the name of "multiculturalism" and "diversity" are ignoring the nature of the Muslim-majority countries from which the immigrants hail. The lack of human rights and free speech, the abuse of women and gays, honor killings, anti-Semitism, and violence against non-Muslims and Muslim "apostates" are characteristic of those countries. Rather than escaping the shackles of those countries, many immigrants are simply transporting them to Europe. In addition, instead of demanding that immigrants comply with European customs and law, much of Europe is simply capitulating to the new reality.
According to a recent report in The Telegraph, for instance:
"Sharia law has been recognized by a British court for the first time after a judge made a landmark divorce ruling... that an estranged couple's Islamic faith marriage, conducted in a ceremony called a nikah, falls under British matrimonial law despite it not being legally recognized as such."
In 2006, Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi proclaimed that Islam would conquer Europe "without firing a shot." Today, a mere 12 years later, Erdoğan appears to be acting on the same principle. This makes it all the more shattering that the United Nations has given his government the authority to vet refugees. Europe must beware and elect leaders who grasp the danger of losing the battle for the continent's heart, soul and democracy.
Uzay Bulut, a journalist from Turkey, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute. She is currently based in Washington D.C.