First the asylum seekers were used to further Turkey’s regional ambitions, now they are made to suffer in quarantine camps
By Katy Fallon and Ans Boersma
Fri 8 May 2020
At the beginning of March, thousands of refugees gathered in the shadow of the Pazarkule border gate in Turkey after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he would “open the gate” to Europe.
The move was a reaction to the killing of 33 Turkish soldiers in Idlib province on 28 February and designed to exert pressure on the EU and Nato to support its military operation in northern Syria.
Many boarded buses to Pazarkule – some organised by Turkish authorities from Istanbul – others walked. People gave up homes they’d been renting and sold whatever belongings they had left.
Rima, a 45-year-old Syrian former nurse who documented the atrocities of the regime in a field hospital in Daraa, packed up what she owned, left her rented accommodation and paid 500 Turkish lira (£56) to get to Pazarkule. She hoped to find a way into Europe and on to Switzerland where her sister is a political refugee.