Erdogan’s another gamble: Turkey’s blackmailing to EU
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2016-11-28 13:27:21

Erdogan’s another gamble: Turkey’s blackmailing to EU

Turkey’s president has threatened to tear up a landmark deal to stem the flow of refugees into Europe a day after the European parliament urged governments to freeze EU accession talks with Ankara. The threat underlines how far relations between Turkey and the European bloc have deteriorated in recent months, particularly after a coup attempt in July. “You clamoured when 50,000 refugees came to Kapikule, and started wondering what would happen if the border gates were opened,” Erdogan said in a speech on Friday at a women’s rights conference, referring to a Bulgarian border checkpoint where refugees massed last year. It is no secret that the European Union needs Turkey in order to stem the flow of refugees in it, which previously was even threatening the stability of certain European Union countries. The deal between the European Union and Turkey in March this year made Turkey the gatekeeper of Europe by making it binding upon Turkey to receive any refugees back who enter Greece illegally. This was the reason behind Europe’s muted response over Turkish crackdown in the aftermath of the attempted coup of all such individuals who Turkey considers are linked to the US based cleric Fethullah Gulen, the alleged master mind of the attempted coup. Whereas the actions of Turkish government received mass and widespread opprobrium from the international media, the dealings between Turkey and the European Union carried on without major impediments, fuelled by the exigencies of the refugee crisis. Turkey is already struggling with the refugee crisis despite European Union’s monetary assistance for that purpose, and so for Turkey to cancel its current arrangement with the European Union is not exactly a very far off possibility. Decisions at the international stage are often imperfect because their results, more often than not, harm the interests of one party or the other. This is what is characterising the present state of uncertainty between Europe and Turkey. Fundamentally, European Union needs Turkey on its side but it also does not want to be perceived as an organisation that supports alleged authoritarian regimes. It obviously cannot have both. However, while this choice might be important, it should not cloud the bigger picture, which is that the Middle East is burning, and the refugees fleeing from it are doing so because of desperation. The blame for it is, in no small part, on ill-conceived policies of western intervention. A long term policy for the interest of both Turkey and Europe is then the need to stabilise the Middle East, and that is what the focus should essentially be on.

pk.shafaqna.com

 

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