Refugees influx: Is Turkey playing politics on refuges issue?
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2015-10-20 05:42:17

Refugees influx: Is Turkey playing politics on refuges issue?

Ref

EU leaders met in Brussels on Thursday to discuss plans to help deal with the ongoing influx of refugees from the Middle East, urging Turkey in particular to play a larger role in solving the crisis.Last week, leaders proposed a plan to help ease the burden many European countries are facing. The plan would focus on giving Turkey more aid to assist refugees within its borders, in the hope that this would discourage them from attempting to flee to Europe.In a speech before the Bundestag earlier Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Turkey had to play a key rule in stemming the flow of migrants.Other leaders echoed Merkel, pushing for Ankara to accept the plan while in some cases criticizing its apparent lack of willingness to do so. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been wary of what he sees as efforts to make Turkey shoulder more of the burden in the crisis. In exchange for backing of the plan, Erdogan has requested more incentives from Brussels, including the creation of a no-fly zone and safe area in northern Syria.He also asked on Thursday for 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) in financial assistance for Turkey. In addition, Erdogan has pushed EU leaders to step up the accession process for Turkey, which has been on the list of potential EU member states since 1987. This includes liberalizing visa restrictions, something that has sparked concern in some EU leaders. French President Francois Hollande said at the summit that just because Brussels needs Ankara’s help does not mean “that there will be unconditional visa liberalization.” Turkey presently has a lot on its mind internal conflicts, impending elections and the Syrian refugee influx, not to mention its long-standing hurt for waiting to be a part of the EU  and therefore, Erdogan’s wish list for Merkel is daunting. He would like, among other things, for the EU to set up a safe zone in northern Syria and be more productive in ending the conflict in Syria. But the EU can, and must, convince Turkey to cooperate. It’s the only way forward for the EU, given how the refugee crisis is tearing away at its socio-political fabric. While getting Turkey’s cooperation could help stem the tide of refugees, it is but one part of the challenge the EU faces. The other areas it urgently needs to concentrate on for a denouement to the refugee crisis for the long term are: Find ways to end the war in Syria, get its bickering member states to share the responsibility of the refugees and ditch counter-productive measures in its Common European Asylum System (CEAS) such as the Dublin Procedure that clearly is a paralysing factor in the current crisis. In other words, it is time the EU moves beyond its play of policies and gets some work done. Getting Turkey to be on its side is the first step.

 

pk.shafaqna.com

 

 

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