Poland-Belarus migrants crisis

Turkey denies involvement in the migration crisis between Belarus and Poland

Ankara denies that migrants arrive in Belarus from Turkey. Lukashenko warns of an “armed conflict” and threatens to cut off gas to Europe.

Turkey has denied its involvement in the serious migration crisis unleashed between Belarus and Poland, described by the Warsaw government as the worst crisis in the last 30 years that this country has suffered, and which threatens to strain the complicated relations between the EU and NATO, and Russia, the main ally of the Minsk government.

According to information published by Turkish agencies, citing diplomatic sources, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu assured his Polish counterpart Zbigniew Rau – during a telephone conversation in which they both discussed the difficult situation on the Polish-Belarusian border – that there is an attempt to portray Turkey as a responsible party to the problem, when in reality it is not involved in the crisis.

In this sense, Çavuşoğlu would have referred to the “baseless accusations against Turkey and (the airline) Turkish Airlines”, after some foreign media reported that the Turkish state airline was airlifting migrants to Belarus: accusations that the company has categorically denied, stressing that, although it operates flights to Belarus, it is not true that this is contributing to the illegal trafficking of migrants.

During the conversation with his Polish counterpart, the Turkish foreign minister stressed that public opinion must be properly informed in the face of such “unfounded” accusations, and invited Polish technical teams to visit Turkey to verify on the ground that such information is false.

Lukashenko warns of an “armed conflict” and threatens to cut gas to Europe

Poland and the European Union accuse Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of using migrants as a tool of retaliation against the sanctions imposed by Brussels against his regime, helping or forcing thousands of migrants to move to the Polish border and then abandoning them to their own fate.

In fact, the EU countries bordering Belarus – in addition to Poland, Lithuania and Latvia – have seen an alarming increase in the arrival of irregular immigrants since August. So far this year, 7,935 migrants tried to cross illegally the borders of EU countries bordering Belarus, while in 2020 only 150 were registered.

NATO – of which Turkey is a member State – considers for its part that the migration crisis between Belarus and Poland is caused by the strategy of the Lukashenko regime, which would plan to destabilise the eastern border of the EU and undermine its security by non-military means. However, today Lukashenko himself ordered his military forces to reinforce their borders in the event of a possible “armed conflict”, threatening Europe with closing the way to natural gas that arrives from Russia, just a few weeks before the arrival of winter.