EU-Turkey crisis


President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to open Turkey’s borders to allow refugees and migrants to reach the European Union in a move that would tear up a landmark deal that has reduced the flow. Erdogan’s comments, some of his toughest in recent times against the EU, prompted an immediate warning from Germany which helped broker the deal that such “threats” were unhelpful.The threat came a day after the European Parliament angered Ankara by backing a freeze in EU accession talks, already hit by alarm over its crackdown following the July 15 failed coup. “Listen to me. If you go any further, then the frontiers will be opened, bear that in mind,” Erdogan told the EU during a speech in Istanbul.He said Brussels had cried out for help in 2015 as tens of thousands of migrants massed at Turkey’s border crossing with EU member state Bulgaria.On March 18, Ankara and Brussels forged a deal for Turkey to halt the flow of migrants to Europe – an accord that has largely been successful in reducing the number of people crossing the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece.Hundreds of people have drowned in the Aegean en route from Turkey to Greece on unseaworthy boats.
They included three-year-old Syrian Aylan Kurdi, with the images of his lifeless body washed up on a Turkish beach spurring the international community into action.Turkey agreed to step up maritime and land border controls in exchange for incentives on its long-stalled EU membership bid, including visa-free travel for its citizens and an acceleration of accession talks.However with an October target passing, no apparent progress on the visa issue and the accession talks stalled, Ankara has accused Brussels of failing to keep its side of the bargain.In response to Erdogan’s remarks, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman, Ulrike Demmer, said the deal was in the interest “of all parties” and that “threats on either side are not helpful”.Erdogan said that while Turkey itself was looking after three million refugees – mainly 2.7 million Syrians who have fled the war next door – but the EU did not fulfil your promises.
The vote by the EU Parliament reflected spiralling tensions between Ankara and the bloc after Brussels repeatedly expressed alarm over the magnitude of Turkey’s crackdown after the coup.The move comes amid heightened tension between Turkey and the EU as Brussels criticises Ankara’s crackdown in the aftermath of the July failed coup bid. Opposition to measures being adopted by the Turkish Government to ward-off future threats to democracy also exposes claims of the EU about its commitment to democracy. Turkey has every right to go for measures to safeguard its democratic system and democratic institutions and in fact this should have been welcomed by the EU and other members of the international community. In fact, some members of the EU do not want a Muslim country in their fold. We believe that Turkey is a rising power and it has the capability, potential and resolve to carve out a place of prominence in the comity of nations with or without EU membership.A long term policy for the interest of both Turkey and Europe is then the need to stabilise the Middle East.