Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened Europe with a flood of refugees on Thursday if the continent’s leaders call the Turkish invasion of Syria an “occupation.”
“We will open the gates and send 3.6 million refugees your way,” Erdogan said while speaking to officials from his ruling AK Party, according to Reuters.
While this threat looks quite serious on face value, I started to think about medium term consequences of such move. I don't even mean usual tit for tat, with the EU slashing economic aid, withdrawing from custom union with Turkey or putting some trade sanctions. I mean direct political result of such move, even before including any potential retaliation are included.
At least in theory, the hypothetical answer of the EU could be following: "Yes, indeed it would cause some turmoil and serious political changes among nervous voters. However, are you sure that Turkish interests would be better served when Viktor Orban become the President of European Council?"
I'm not saying that literally this Hungarian politician would be elected, however judging from voters behaviour during migrant crisis of 2015, a one third of this number in a year is enough to dramatically boost support for nationalist parties. So such threat, if implemented, would remodel political scene in the EU, with either voting new people to power or mainstream politicians changing their position towards views that they are right now denouncing.
So could EU call bluff, or is there some key factor that I miss? (like that number would be highly problematic, but not be enough to cause ideological shift in majority of EU countries, detrimental for Turkish interests? Or that in this situation Erdogan is desperate enough to go this way anyway?)