I will begin where I ended in my last post on this topic:
The Turkish Bazaar
Ankara aids, trains, shelters and otherwise supports those causing the destructive conditions in Syria and Iraq. Members of the President’s family are allegedly in the middle of a smuggling operation for oil from the war-torn regions.
Turkey is a key contributor to causing the conditions necessary to create a flood of refugees.
And Europe is willing to pay Turkey to help solve this problem.
It should be obvious that the problem will not be solved by Turkey even after these measures.
One of the key conditions Turkey placed in exchange for its support on the refugee situation was visa-free travel to the EU for Turkish citizens. Many, but not all, of the normal conditions the EU requires in order to grant visa-free travel have been met by Turkey, for example:
One of the points of contention is a Turkish anti-terror law so broadly defined that it makes it possible for Erdogan to go after anyone he decides to label as a terrorist, even journalists who report critically about him. Inside the European Commission, some believe this law gives a “blank check” to Turkish security agencies to do as they please. Parts of Turkish law are also inconsistent with the European Convention on Human Rights.
I think this means the United States is also not eligible for EU membership, but this is a bit off the subject.
Meeting the normally expected conditions is now deemed irrelevant in the conversation, as Turkey is holding the cards on the refugee situation. It is certainly deemed irrelevant by the Turkish government; apparently it is also deemed irrelevant by many in Europe.
…even if Ankara hasn’t yet fulfilled all 72 of the conditions set out by Brussels. That’s the price.
Turkey has met about 50.
Europe must turn a blind eye. It’s likely that it will do so.
Keep in mind the German resolve when it has come to the financial crisis – no bending the rules, deficit targets must be met, handcuffs on the ECB, etc. That apparently was the standard line on this issue at one time also:
In March, Merkel had assured that, “The Turks must fulfill all conditions, there will be no exceptions.”
Apparently no longer.
Erdogan has a different view on the matter:
“Erdogan is prepared to go as far as he has to,” says Metin Corabatir, president of the Research Center on Asylum and Migration (IGAM) in Ankara. “If the EU rebuffs Turkey, then the deal will be history. Then Erdogan will hardly be willing to serve as Europe’s doorman.”
Now Merkel has become Erdogan’s whipping boy…well, girl…OK, person (I know, I stepped into a hot one here):
In Dresden, the director of the Dresdner Sinfoniker orchestra has claimed that Turkey’s delegation to the EU tried to strong arm the European Commission to defund a concert planned for Saturday commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide. Then there is the case Turkey is bringing against German satirist Jan Böhmermann for insulting Erdogan. Finally, there’s Erdogan’s battle against journalists who are critical of the Turkish leader. This year again saw certain foreign journalists prevented from remaining in the country.
There are fears that refugees will just be replaced by other migrants from Turkey:
Fears also persist in Berlin that the policy will result in an influx of poverty migrants from Turkey who will go off the grid and make ends meet with under-the-table jobs rather than leaving after 90 days as stipulated under the visa-waiver program.
Gareth Jenkins, a prominent British expert on Turkey, believes that a substantial number of Turks would come to Europe and either apply for asylum or disappear into the underground economy, especially in Germany and the Netherlands, where so many Turks have relatives.
There are hundreds-of-thousands of displaced Kurds in the southeast regions of Turkey – visa-free travel will allow a sanitary solution for Erdogan toward the Kurdish issues, much cleaner than the approach taken a century ago toward the Armenians.
The German government is proposing a “snap-back mechanism”:
The mechanism would stipulate that the visa waiver program could be suspended if it turned out that large numbers of Turkish citizens were fleeing to Europe in order to apply for asylum or to illegally immigrate.
I am sure Erdogan would respect this suspension without issue.
A Final Thought
Frankly, Erdogan could hand Turkish passports to the refugees from Syria and elsewhere and just laugh himself silly all the way to the bank.
Reprinted with permission from Bionic Mosquito.