Cyprus Mail
CM Regular ColumnistOpinion

A migrant deal that won’t work

I take my hat off to the president, who stood firm during EU-Turkey migrant negotiations, temporarily delaying the opening of those five ‘treacherous’ chapters. His stamina and perseverance tempered by humility (notwithstanding the occasional nudge during world press interviews from government spokesman/aide de camp, Nicos Christodoulides) was admirable given the blatant duplicity of EU leaders.

All parties seemed to get what they wanted at last Friday’s EU-Turkey migrant sell-out apart from migrants, who have unknowingly become permanent ‘guests’ of Turkey.

We now face the likelihood of an endless stream of illegals entering Europe by alternate routes – at night, under the cover of darkness – indifferent to the dangers.

Well done Brussels. You have simply energised the inevitable – migrants stealing their way in. And once in, they will be difficult to detect – hidden in ghettoes, working ‘black’ and marrying ‘out’ for citizenship, most of them young bucks akin to those who ran a fanciful riot (fomented by Pegida) in Cologne last New Year’s Eve.

Let’s be clear, you are either prepared to take migrants or not. Europe tentatively was last year, when African economic migrants flooded into Italy from dishevelled Libya, followed seriously by war torn Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans through Turkey.

But European public opinion diverged when migrant numbers ballooned, hardening resolve to stem the flood, which is just as easy to stem from Turkey as from Italy’s Lampedusa, Brussels thinks.

For every migrant returned from Greece to Turkey, one bona-fide refugee from Turkey will be permitted entry into our ‘club’.

Not such a good deal then, is it, Mr Davutoglu? Plus one less one equals no drop in overall numbers of nearly three million held in your refugee camps, camps devoid of oversight from established organisations like UNICEF, Médecins Sans Frontières and world media, which dare not enter SE Turkey’s majority Kurdish war zone.

All Brussels has done is to leave Turkey holding the baby – giving her billions of euros in return for Turkey becoming a staging post – an Ellis Island, where early 20th century immigrants to the US were herded then thoroughly cross-examined prior to being permitted access to the American Dream – Donald Trump!

Refugee access to Europe will be denied for the vast majority, who will soon restart their trek to harass Europe’s borders. And there are a million and a half held in Lebanon and two million in Jordan also impatient to ‘cross-country’.

It makes me wonder how Cyprus will control her borders if ever there is a Cyprob solution.

The UK has refused to permit Turks visa free travel. Will both federated states of Cyprus do the same? If not, then Cyprus is a desirable destination – boatloads chopping across those fathomless straits leading to the ‘lovely’ unrestrained north with easy access to the ‘carefree’ south.

There is already a sizeable community of Syrians in Cyprus – several restaurants, a Cyprus/Syrian Friendship Society, many construction and farm workers, etc. And as we know, one legal resident attracts five illegals.

Today’s refugees are a moneyless broken people.

So it all comes down to money does it? Well, yes! We don’t mind who you are as long as you can help support the shaky Cyprus economy.

Every Saturday and Wednesday, a small number of boyish Africans bunch at the entry to the OXI fruit and veg market. Their multi-lingual delightful verbosity is intriguing. But would it remain so if they became a much bigger bunch? Or would it cause trepidation, that same trepidation which swept France during the 1960s, when a few North African Muslims suddenly grew to ‘too many’, and again in the 1980s with immigrants from Cameroon, Senegal, and Cote d’Ivoire?

Accepting overspills from former colonies is the price former imperial powers had to pay for exploiting the natural resources and economies of former colonies. Well, they didn’t really have to pay. But when their overpowering influence extended to covertly controlling those newly ‘independent’ colonies, they had no choice.

The Middle East was covertly colonised for its oil by the US and Europe, both great powers morally responsible for the security of ME inhabitants. You can’t just steal a country’s natural resources, slaughter its inhabitants and expect to get away with it long term.

But we do. Herd them into camps with no mention of integration or ever a hope of returning to their homes – rather like refugees on both sides of the Cyprus divide.

Forty two years of deception and still nowhere near a Cyprob solution, our sole natural resource being geopolitically strategic, not animal, vegetable or mineral!

Talking of food, I can recommend the Syrian takeaway on Regina Street (downtown Nicosia) for the very best Shawarma in Cyprus, chicken or lamb – mixed if you prefer!

Are you thinking about your stomach now that Brussels and Turkey have led us to believe that they have solved the migrant problem? If so, think again. We pay for our sins in this life, not the next.

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