Creating new perspectives since 2009

Ex-France envoy to Israel gives support to Turkey on Syria refugees

March 2, 2020 at 4:01 pm

Syrian refugees seen arriving in Turkey’s Edirne, on their way to Europe in Turkey on February 28, 2020 [Gökhan Balcı / Anadolu Agency]

Former French Ambassador to Israel Gerard Araud has voiced his sympathy for Turkey decision to open its border for Syrian refugees to enter Europe and the operation against the Russian-backed Syrian regime.

Araud, who served as French Ambassador to the self-declared Jewish state from 2014 to 2019, stated on Twitter over the weekend: “What Turkey is doing is trying to stop the attack of the Syrian state militias against Idlib to prevent millions of refugees and thousands of jihadists from crossing its borders.”

He also expressed his understanding of Turkey’s decision to allow the Syrian refugees to make their way to Europe, saying: “It blackmails Europe because it doesn’t get any concrete support in this critical crisis.”

He asked what European countries would do if they were in the same position; namely hosting millions of refugees with more at the border. “The Europeans should ask the simple question : what would I do if I were Turkey, a country already hosting several millions of refugees and facing the prospect of the arrival of one more million?”

Araud, who classes himself as a political realist, continued by giving his support to the Turkish concept of a safe zone for Syrian refugees, classing it as the only viable solution to help the refugees in their homeland while also relieving Turkey and Europe of another significant wave of refugees. “If we want to stop the offensive against Idlib for security and humanitarian reasons, we should support Turkey, however unpalatable it may look and sound,” he said.

Turkey’s actions throughout the past week – opening the Turkish-Greek border to allow refugees to make their way to Europe unhindered and Turkey’s pounding of regime forces over the weekend – were also “the only way to change Putin’s calculations,” according to Araud, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s long-time backing of the Syrian regime throughout the nine-year civil war.