Trapped - 2020"We have opened the gates" said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on February 27, 2020. Following the announcement in response to the death of 33 Turkish soldiers in an airstrike in northern Syria, thousands of refugees rushed to the Greek-Turkish border in hopes of reaching Europe. Türkiye, holding her one-and-a-half-year-old baby, is a few kilometers from the Pazarkule border crossing with her four other children and her husband. This Syrian mother has the same name as this country where her family has found refuge since 2016. In search of a better future for their children, this family did not hesitate for a second before leaving everything behind and hitting the road. They wanted to seize what they thought was a much dreamed opportunity. However, once they crossed to the Turkish side, the barbed wire and the repeated tear gas attacks by the Greek police in the buffer zone, plunged Türkiye's family into deep despair. They have just walked several kilometers to reach the border. They are now about to spend their first night without anything to protect them from the freezing cold and the rain. Only a few wood fires light up the darkness, and spread a pungent smell in the already terrifying atmosphere. As soon as the sun rises, a crowd piles into the buffer zone in the hope of putting pressure on the Greek police. Children are brandished in the air in an attempt to soften the exchanges. Young people beg the Greek police: "open the door, open the door". The answer is violent. The tear gas attacks intensify to prevent any passage. These thousands of refugees will remain stuck in this makeshift camp for almost a month. Türkiye's family, like so many others, did not expect to be used as political leverage against Europe, which is incapable of providing a humane response to this crisis.
For Le Figaro newspaper