Turkey blackmails EU for money in exchange for not unleashing refugees onto Europe
My previous post illustrated the hypocrisy of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Now I will give you an example of Erdoğan’s deviousness. On November 29 a deal was reached in Brussels between the EU and Turkey pertaining to the migrant crisis. In exchange for helping[*] to reduce the flow of migrants into Europe, the EU has agreed to future visa liberalization for Turkish citizens, renewed talks on Turkish accession to the EU, and to give Turkey 3 billion euros (an initial amount) to help them deal with their refugee problems.
This agreement has been hailed by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu as a “new beginning” and the President of the European Council Donald Tusk said it “sets out a clear plan for the timely re-establishment of order at our shared frontier.” However, not everyone in Europe thinks highly of it. Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and Member of European Parliament (MEP), called the agreement an act of Turkish “blackmail” against the EU.
Now many will dismiss Farage’s claim as being the clap-trap of a right wing reactionary, but it appears that he was spot on. On Wednesday his claim was validated by none other than Burhan Kuzu, an adviser of Erdoğan. Kuzu tweeted, “The EU finally got Turkey’s message and opened its purse strings. What did we say? ‘We’ll open our borders and unleash all the Syrian refugees on you.’” So here we have an admission by a well connected Turk that Turkey effectively blackmailed Europe for money and, we can assume, the consideration of future EU membership.
This revelation brings some thoughts and questions to my mind. Firstly, why would the EU even deal with Turkey? Are they not capable of establishing order on their own frontiers using their own resources and military, instead of playing into the hands of the crafty Erdoğan? The nominal GDP of the entire EU in 2014 was over $18 trillion, making it a larger economy than either the US or China. EU member nations have modern armies and navies, especially France which is a nuclear power.
So does it make sense that the EU member states cannot assemble a naval task force in the Mediterranean to interdict vessels carrying migrants and send them back to their point of origin (i.e. Turkey)? They have the resources and ability to do this, but apparently not the will.
Secondly, I find very interesting the contrast between how the EU deals with Turkey and how it deals with Greece. When it comes to the migrant crisis the EU negotiates with Turkey in an unassertive and half-witted manner. But during the debt crisis, the EU negotiated with Greece in a ruthless and unwavering manner. When the Greek people voted against the initial EU deal, the EU did not mollify their stance, instead they put forth an even harsher deal, which the disgraceful Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras accepted.
There was also an incident in which a Greek student confronted the president of the Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem. The student brought up, inter alia, that “thousands of Greeks have committed suicide because of your policies,” to which Dijsselbloem responded “Brussels is not responsible for the problems of Greece, the responsibility is up to the society and the Greek government. Europe is trying to help. You blame us. In Greece there was a corruption problem before the crisis.” This doesn’t sound very compassionate does it. One wonders if the EU displayed such sternness to Turkey during the migrant crisis negotiations what type of deal would have been agreed to. I doubt they would have given in to Turkish blackmail.
The third thing that comes to my mind is another contrast, this one between how the EU and Putin respond to Turkish machinations. When Turkey downed a Russian Su-24 bomber, they were obviously intending to affect Russia’s behavior in Syria (in this case probably to make Russia stop bombing Syrian Turkmen rebels). But Putin did not react as Erdoğan hoped. He began bombing Syrian Turkmen positions even more intensely, he imposed numerous economic sanctions on Turkey, and he has had some harsh words for Turkey’s leadership such as “evidently Allah decided to punish the ruling clique in Turkey by depriving them of their intelligence and reason.“ In contrast we have the leaders of Europe who spinelessly yielded to coercive Turkish demands and then hailed the agreement as some great development.
Finally Kuzu’s tweet has illustrated that Turkish calls for Europe to do more to help refugees is nothing but hollow talk as the Turkish leadership itself sees these refugees as a political weapon to be used against the EU to extort money and EU membership. I understand that many see the migrant crisis as a humanitarian disaster, but these people must realize, that sadly, it also an instrument of subversion and manipulation by certain Middle Eastern governments such as Turkey.
In closing what is most frightening about this agreement between the EU and Turkey, and the revelation by Kuzu that Turkey blackmailed Europe, is that it may lead to Turkey becoming a member of the EU. If you want to know why this is a bad idea just listen to Nigel Farage’s speech to the European Parliament.. One can only hope that tweets like those of Kuzu’s and politicians like Farage may be enough to wake Europeans up to the madness that is allowing Turkey to join the EU.
[*] It is interesting that they did not even guarantee that they would reduce the flow of migrants, only that they would ‘help’ to.