Srdja Trifkovic’s interview with Sputnik Radio International

RS: What is your take on the migrant crisis inside Europe, and what’s happening between Serbia and Croatia?

ST: “Migrant crisis” is the right term. I wouldn’t use the term “refugees” because, strictly speaking, most of these people had already been safe and sound in Turkey and other countries of first refuge. Their decision to move on is mostly prompted by economic reasons, by the desire to reach countries such as Germany, or the Benelux and Scandinavia, where they can look forward to free apartments and welfare payments. A refugee is someone who escapes from Syria to Turkey. Someone who moves on from Turkey to Europe is no longer a “refugee.” [ . . . ]

The Hungarian fence along the border with Serbia is obviously working. The “refugees” do not want to stay in Serbia – it is a relatively poor country by European standards, and there are no jobs and no welfare handouts – so the pressure will go wherever there is least resistance. Croatia was able to stem the flow only temporarily, because in the long term the build-up in Serbia is also insustainable. The country simply lacks the infrastructure to take care of the additional thousands of people who are arriving from Greece and across the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia every day.

In the long term, the decision by the European Commission to impose mandatory quotas [on EU member countries to accept allocated numbers of refugees] is a mistake. It will only prompt more ?uroskepticism among the former Soviet Bloc countries, and also in Britain. It will also act as an invitation to further hundreds of thousands of migrants to make the trip from Turkey and other countries. In the long term I wouldn’t be surprised if Europe were to impose more stringent controls. In order to do that, they will need to exert pressure on Turkey’s President Rejep Tayyip Erdogan. Not many people realize that he is really the villain of the piece, because he has used the refugees in Turkey as a means of exerting pressure on the Europeans, and the Turkish infrastructure has been mobilized to move hundreds of thousands of people from its eastern borders with Syria and Iraq to the Aegean, Mediterranean ports in the southwest of the country.

In the long term, resistance to this migratory influx will increase even in the “old” European countries which have been welcoming them for the time being, notably in Germany, France and the Benelux. After all, even though they are better off than the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Rumania, it is only a question of time when the unassimilable multitudes start acting in the way in which the Islamic diaspora in those countries has been acting for a long time – unwilling to assimilate and unwilling to adapt to the European cultural norms. [ . . . ]

RS: They left one place, they left the conflict zone and they are moving on for purely economic reasons. Why isn’t the Western press portraying it like this? Why is the press saying that it’s not even the Syrians, that we need to help everybody – it could be Libyans, it could be Africans. Why don’t we have the true media definition of what’s happening?

ST: It is a mix of political correctness and what has been called “the pornography of compassion.” When what remains of the religious impulse is compassion devoid of the moral infrastructure based on the Christian religion, then you get these knee-jerk reactions. For instance, the photograph of a drowned Syrian boy on a Turkish beach trumps any rational debate.

I would say that fewer than one-half of the people on the move at the moment even come from the countries that can be legitimately regarded as refugee-producing. Most of the people crossing from Libya into Lampedusa and Sicily in Italy are sub-Saharan Africans. Admittedly they come from some rather unpleasant countries, such as Mali, Tchad, or Nigeria, but by that token at least two and a half, maybe three billion people around the world, live in poor and unpleasant countries with no economic prospects. If they are put in the same category as genuine refugees, it will only be a matter of time before Europe is literally deluged.

In the long term this will produce a huge security problem for the host countries. As the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris last January, and the attack on the train from Brussels to Paris only a few weeks ago remind us, the French security services had had the culprits in those attacks under supervision – and then they lost the ability to track them because they were overwhelmed. Nobody knows how many would-be jihadists and sympathizers of the Islamic State are coming with this latest flood, and I greatly fear that the European security services simply do not have the resources to investigate each and every applicant. Even if only a few percent of these people are jihadist-minded, it will create a new hotbed of extremism in the heart of Europe.

RS: You’ve mentioned that Turkey’s Erdogan is playing the disguised villain in this case. Are you suggesting that he is using the migrants as some sort of migration weapon?

ST: Turkey has been very actively projecting its influence in southeast Europe, particularly among the Muslim communities in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, Kosovo, in Macedonia, in Serbia’s Sanjak region, and in southern Bulgaria. Not only is he [Erdogan] delighted to increase the Muslim diaspora in Europe, at the same time I think he is also exerting indirect pressure on the Europeans to subscribe to his way of resolving the Syrian crisis. He continues to treat Bashar al-Assad as the key culprit. He also seeks the creation of a buffer zone in northwestern Syria, along the border with Turkey, which would be but another way for Turkey to battle the Kurds in Syria, whom he regards as more dangerous to the stability of the Turkish state than the Islamic State itself.


[You can listen to the interview here.]