Irish Politician to ST: Turkey uses Syrian refugees as a bargaining chip in its relations with the EU

Irish politician Clare Daly has argued that the EU is paying Turkey to prevent Syrians from reaching Europe, rather than working with Syria to restore favourable conditions for them to return.

She has made it clear that the colonial partition of the region by Western European powers after World War 1 laid the foundations of the conflicts that we have today.  

The remarks of Mrs. Daly, who is a Member of the European Parliament from Ireland for the Dublin constituency, came during an interview with the Syria Times e-newspaper.  

Here below the full interview: 

Q-Syriatimes interviewed you several years ago -in your opinion is the situation now any different from when you were last interviewed?

A lot of the details have changed, but the overall prospects for Syria remain challenging. Government control has been restored across much of the country and this has put an end to a lot of the fighting, but Syria is trapped in an international situation not of its making. The EU does not want to abandon regime change, even though now it is clearly unrealistic, and this means EU sanctions remain in place, preventing Syria from rebuilding and addressing the needs of its people. Meanwhile Turkey uses Syrian refugees displaced by the conflict as a bargaining chip in its relations with the EU, which perceives them as an unwanted migration problem. The EU is paying Turkey to prevent Syrians from reaching Europe, rather than working with Syria to restore favourable conditions for them to return.

Q-Will the new American presidency make a difference to the role that America is playing in Syria?

I would hope so. The election of Biden is being heralded as a return to normalcy, but we cannot forget that the war in Syria began during Obama's presidency. The most hopeful possibility is that with Mike Pompeo gone, there might be dialogue. A new Democratic administration may be open to dialogue with Syria in a way the Trump administration was not. While the US disposition may not change overall, the opening of channels could be the small difference that makes a big difference for ordinary Syrians.

Q-It all started with Palestine(the problems of the Middle East )Do you agree with that?

The colonial occupation and settlement of Palestine is extremely significant, but I believe the causes of the present problems of the Middle East cannot be put down to that alone. I would say the colonial partition of the region by Western European powers after World War 1 laid the foundations of the conflicts that we have today. And Palestine is part of that story of course.

Interviewed by:

Reem Haddad/ Editor-in-chief

Basma Qaddour / Journalist

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