Experts Say Belarus Is Using Refugees As Bargaining Chips, A Tactic Learned From The Turkish Regime

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Experts Say Belarus Is Using Refugees As Bargaining Chips, A Tactic Learned From The Turkish Regime

Experts on international relations believe that Belarus is weaponizing the refugee issue to extract concessions from the West, utilising a tactic that has been previously used to some effect by the ruling Turkish regime.


Currently, thousands of refugees, primarily from the Middle East, sit on the Belarussian side of the Polish-Belarus border and are trying to make it into the EU. Poland has in response established a border wall and sent thousands of troops to stop unauthorised migrant crossings.


It is reported that many of the refugees are living in sub-zero conditions with many going hungry.


Belarus is regarded as a pariah state by the West and, in recent years, the EU and the US have imposed economic and political sanctions on the nation known as ' Europe's last dictatorship'. The sanctions came into force after long-time leader Alexander Lukashenko cracked down on opposition activists and parties following elections which were widely believed to be fraudulent. The crack-down involved brutal beatings and allegations of torture, along with thousands of peaceful individuals being detained and jailed. Belarus is a strong ally of Russia and is said to have received funding and military support from the Russian state.


Some now believe that Belarus is allowing refugees to enter their country and shipping them to their Polish border in order to force the EU to lessen its currently existing sanctions on the regime.


This tactic was indeed used by Turkey during and in the aftermath of the civil war in Syria, during which time Turkey allowed millions of refugees to enter the country and then transport them to their western shores, and the land border with Greece, in order to enter the EU. Turkey has systematically threatened that they would 'open the floodgates' with refugees unless the EU and NATO agree to support its policies in the Middle East.


Writing in the Jerusalem Post, journalist Seth J. Frantzman said:


"EU countries have often paid Ankara to keep migrants from traveling to Europe. That is clearly a short-term solution and has had the effect of outsourcing abuses to Turkey, sometimes even Libya. For instance, Turkey is now building a border wall along Iran's border to block Afghan migrants and it has built a wall along the border with Syria. Now, more fences and walls are going up in Europe between Belarus and Poland."


Adding that nothing is being done to prevent a humanitarian crisis or protect those most in need:


"Poland is in the unenviable position of dealing with the migrant crisis now. Belarus may be cynically exploiting it, but the overall context is that there are refugees and migrants in Belarus who don't want to be stuck there. Where are the Western asylum-seeking policies set up to help genocide survivors? Where were they when genocide was enacted against the Yazidis and the Kurds in Afrin?"


[Based on reporting by: The Jerusalem Post]


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Thinking Humanity: Experts Say Belarus Is Using Refugees As Bargaining Chips, A Tactic Learned From The Turkish Regime
Experts Say Belarus Is Using Refugees As Bargaining Chips, A Tactic Learned From The Turkish Regime
Experts on international relations believe that Belarus is weaponizing the refugee issue to extract concessions from the West, utilising a tactic that
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