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Turkey exploiting refugees, Europe simultaneously: Analyst

A Turkish catamaran taking the first group of migrants to be sent back to Turkey leaves the port of Chios in Greece early on April 4, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Press TV has conducted an interview with James Petras, a Middle East expert from New York, about the UN’s criticism of mass deportation of refugees from Europe back to Turkey.

The following is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), we just heard that has been criticizing the deal and we earlier heard criticisms and concerns being expressed by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Now, these concerns are realistic. To what extent do you think they are justified?

Petras: There’s no question that the European Union and the United States government have totally ignored the consequences of their wars in the Middle East in particular in Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan. They have destroyed the livelihood of millions of people who’ve been forced to flee. Unfortunately, they flee into Turkey on their way out.

The Turkish government exploits them in every way, allowing smugglers to run them across the border, where they don’t have any physical shelter, where they don’t have any effective financing to be able to accommodate their new lives. Now the Europeans are blocking their exit. The Turks are sending them back to Syria.

And that’s the latest move which needs to be noted that the Turkish government has been shipping every day a couple hundred Syrian or other refugees. And today, we know that the failing Greek government is going to be shipping more refugees back to Turkey, which will totally neglect them. Turkey is only interested in the six billion dollars that it was able to blackmail out of the European Union. It has no intention of offering employment or any kind of livelihood for the refugees. So, the situation is a total and unmitigated disaster.

Press TV: One side of this deal, this agreement, is indeed the EU and previously we heard some of the EU officials namely Ms. Mogherini express concerns and criticisms against Ankara over the manner in which the Turks are conducting local business that is cracking down on local media and freedom of speech. Now how come and why is it that the US [is] no longer pressuring Ankara to show a little bit more sympathy and sensitivity to the status of the refugees?

Petras: Well, I think it’s very clear the US is working very closely with the European Union in supporting Turkey against Russia, against Iran, against the Shia government in Iraq. The Turks are engaging in large scale warfare against the Kurds in Iraq. They’re against the Kurds in Syria. They’re attacking and murdering Kurds in Turkey. So, because of these ties with the Western countries, Turkey has a free hand and totally neglects any obligations it feels toward the refugees, because they serve Western interest in attacking Russia, Syria and Iran, not to mention Lebanon.

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