By BI: EUROPE is facing a mass migration timebomb with a visa-free travel deal for Turkish citizens set to unleash an “unstoppable influx” on the continent, a top German politician has warned. There are more than a million Syrians now in Turkey, waiting to cross the border into Europe.
UK Express Officials in Brussels offered Turkey £2.3 billion and visa-free travel if it clamps down on the number of refugees making their way into Europe through its borders.
But today a prominent German politician warned EU leaders may have robbed Peter to pay Paul, shutting off one influx but opening up the continent to 80 million Turkish citizens.
Johannes Singhammer, vice-president of the Bundestag said there are “serious considerations” about the prospective visa-free regime, because it would open “a gateway for further immigration and a flow of refugees to Germany.”
He said that German consulates in Turkey are already issuing a staggering 200,000 visas a year for free travel in the Schengen zone and that number is now set to explode when the agreement comes into force in October.
Mr Singhammer said migrants from war-torn Syria or Iraq could add to the influx, but also migrants from Turkey itself, saying the domestic conflict with the Kurds “has a vast potential to create new reasons [for those persecuted] to flee.”
Tensions have escalated across Germany in the wake of the Cologne New Year’s Eve sex attacks which saw scores of women robbed and sexually assaulted by gangs of men, suspected to be migrants.
German chancellor Angela Merkel has come under fire for her so-called open door policy to refugees and has insisted the answer to the migrant crisis is not to simply close European borders.
The EU-Turkey deal, which could make Turkey the 29th member state of the EU, saw Brussels send aid supplies to help Turkey cope with more than 2.2 million Syrian refugees. Brussels is counting on the accorde to stem the influx of migrants, the majority coming from the Middle East or Asia via Turkey.
Despite the deal being signed off, Turkey must meet dozens of EU demands to even receive a recommendation for visa-free access to the bloc by autumn 2016 and must also have the unanimous support of all 28 member states.
Turkish president Recep Tayip Erdogan has repeatedly criticised European efforts to tackle the migrant crisis. In desperation his country shut its border for two days as thousands of Syrians flocked to Turkey after Aleppo was obliterated in 48 hours of intense bombing.
Mr Singhammer’s warning comes days after Mr Erdogan threatened to put millions of refugees on buses and planes to western Europe unless EU leaders handed over more money to host migrants arriving from Syria. He said: “I am sorry but we can open the doors, and tell the migrants ‘have a good journey.’ “Don’t think that the planes and the buses are there for nothing. We will do the necessary.”
Hungary’s no-nonsense president Viktor Orban has also slammed the deal, saying: “Brussels is making promises to the Turks that we can’t keep – or don’t want to keep. The plan to take in hundreds of thousands of refugees from Turkey and distribute them across Europe is an illusion.”