Turkish-Greek Relations and Irregular Migration at the Southeasternmost Borders of the EU: The 2020 Pazarkule Case





Greece, Turkey, EU, Pazarkule, Maritsa, refugee, foreign policy


In late February 2020, Turkish authorities declared that they would not avoid refugees who wanted to exit to Europe as a result of which Edirne faced another, this time massive, refugee movement in its history. Eventually, the flocking of hundreds and thousands of desperate people for the purpose of crossing to the European Union (EU) turned into a situation in which Turkey, Greece as well as the European Union involved. This paper investigates the Pazarkule case by analysing foreign policy concerns of both Greece and Turkey. It holds this foreign policy-migration nexus behind Turkey’s as well as Greece’s policy responses and introduces a comparative study by analysing both Greek and Turkish official discourse and sources. This research argues that although Turkey’s and Greece’s refugee policy responses seem to be quite different, they actually have similar aims. That is, both countries use their strategic relations with the EU for their own foreign policy concerns by underlining their foremost importance for the Union in terms refugees trying to make their way to Europe.


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Author Biography

Deniz Eroglu Utku, Trakya University

Dr. Deniz Eroğlu Utku is an Assitant Professor in the Department for Public Administration in the Faculty for Economics and Administrative Sciences at the Trakya University in Edirne/Turkey.  She is former Deputy Director of Institute for Roman Language and Culture, Trakya University. She is one of the editors of Journal of Gypsy Studies and regular contributor of Turkish Migration Conferences. She holds a PhD from the University of Essex, UK. Most recently she has co-edited a special issue for Migration Letters journal on Syrian crisis and migration.




How to Cite

Hüseyinoğlu, A., & Utku, D. E. (2021). Turkish-Greek Relations and Irregular Migration at the Southeasternmost Borders of the EU: The 2020 Pazarkule Case. Migration Letters, 18(6), 659 –. https://doi.org/10.33182/ml.v18i6.1235




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