Belarus has been the target of sanctions and pressure since the August 2020 elections. Brussels believes that this wave of migration is not led by human traffickers, but by the Belarusian government. In this regard, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has stated that Europe will not succumb to the pressure and blackmail of Belarus; measures that, in Brussels’ point of view, are a kind of blackmailing behavior by which Lukashenko will seek political and instrumental use of asylum seekers. Lukashenko, on the other hand, has stated that Belarus will never become a haven for the immigrants.

What is evident, however, is a repetition of the game of power that is taking place through the use of asylum seekers and crises stemming from their migration, with the exception that this time it is assumed that the crisis will neither be solved through a deal and financial assistance but through the iron wall.

In 2015, former US President Donald Trump during his election campaigns unveiled his decision to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico to prevent the entry of illegal immigrants. The decision which boosted his popularity among Republicans and Conservatives, as well as Americans opposed to migration.

Trump’s tumultuous anti-immigration wall project kicked off after his election, and of course was accompanied by many ups and downs: A wall the budget for which has now been ordered frozen with the Biden administration taking over; but American Democrats and leftists were not the only critics of the border wall; Many EU member states also criticized Trump’s policy and decision.

However, it seems that due to the recent immigration crisis in Europe, European critics of the border wall with Mexico will also gradually seek to build border walls in Europe under different pretext of nationalism and anti-immigration public opinion.

Thus, in the face of a wave of asylum seekers moving from Belarus to the borders of Poland and Lithuania, Lithuania has announced that it will build a 500km long steel wall with a height of 3.4 meters at its border. The Polish Interior Minister also announced that the construction of a 180-kilometer wall with a height of 5.5 meters is under consideration. A decision that has brought effects of anti-immigration measures and policies back into the spotlight.

In the recent crisis, many countries have been influential and each has its own orientation; orientations that were based on national interests and it seem that moral values, human rights concepts, and the lasting solution of the refugee crisis have played the most dramatic role and have the least impact on those decisions.

In the meantime, Belarus has taken a kind of revenge against the European Union and in this way it considers encouraging asylum seekers to move to Poland and Lithuania as a lever of pressure in confronting with Brussels.

Poland, on the other hand, under the leadership of the right-wing Law and Justice Party, seized the opportunity to use the crisis not only to regain its declining popularity, but also to strengthen its political position by gaining the support of Polish society opposed to immigration. In addition, by building such a wall, Poland could present itself as the front line of the EU’s eastern crisis and try to use it as a bargaining tool in its disputes with Brussels (such as disputes over legal reform at the national level as well as reducing use of coal).

The use of the iron wall policy has also been somewhat successful in gaining the support of EU members, as the German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer believes that Europe should stand together and help Poland. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, has also stated that Europe can legally finance border barriers.

Although such statements are not very popular among moderate and left-leaning European parties, many right-wing parties, such as the European People’s Party, as well as currents and nationalist parties, support such anti-immigration programs.

Turkey is another country where asylum seekers go to Belarus. Although the country’s aviation authority has stated that citizens of Iraq, Syria and Yemen will not be allowed to travel to Belarus from Turkey, it also has a long history of using asylum seekers as a political tool.

This country is also seeking to complete a border wall with Iran, which its officials say many immigrants cross illegally; a decision that is not an effective solution, but can be considered as a political show-off and tranquilizer to reduce the pressure and confront the growing opposition of the domestic opposition, especially the Republican Party and its leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, and public opinion to the Erdoğan’s immigration policies.

Numerous and obvious factors are considered as reasons for migration, of which war, poverty, insecurity and political instability are the most important ones. In contrast, economic problems, sometimes security, as well as social tensions due to non-integration and proper adaptation of the refugees to the destination community has strengthened anti-immigrant public opinion in Western countries.

For example, in Hungary Orbal owes much of his success in remaining as prime minister to calling Muslim immigrants aggressive and committing to preventing them from entering the country. Today, the current of nationalism and adoption of anti-immigration policies such as establishment of iron wall, etc., can be the key to the success of populist and far-right candidates in the elections.

Federica Mogherini, a former EU foreign policy chief, believes that European tradition and history have shown that bridges should be built and that anyone who invests in walls may be imprisoned, while in the quasi-nationalist West today, victory seems to be of those who invest in the walls and the defeat will be due to human rights, cosmopolitanism, and the unfulfilled slogans of normative and idealistic approaches. Approaches that do not work as effectively in the face of the nation-state and the still stable borders of the Westphalian order. It should be noted that although in the Power Struggle construction of walls, like the Berlin Wall during the Cold War, is considered part of the solution, this time those iron walls are not a barrier to the influence of the Soviet Empire, but to the refugees who have heard the elegy of the destruction of their homeland and the song of Western human rights.