Is it just visa-free travel that Erdogan demands from the EU to not break the migration deal?

From left to right: Mr Donald TUSK, President of the European Council; Mr Recep Tayyip ERDOGAN, Turkish President. Location: Istanbul - TURKEY. Date: 04/03/2016. Source: EC – Audiovisual Service. © European Union, 2016.

From left to right: Mr Donald TUSK, President of the European Council; Mr Recep Tayyip ERDOGAN, Turkish President.
Location: Istanbul – TURKEY. Date: 04/03/2016. Source: EC – Audiovisual Service.
© European Union, 2016.

Last Monday Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey’s Foreign Minister, mentioned in the German newspaper Bild that Turkey is most likely to step out of the refugee deal signed with the EU last March unless the latter provides to the Turks visa-free travel to the bloc in October.

These comments come only a few days after the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had repeated to Germany’s RTL television Turkey’s strong position. It seems that all these warnings are going to be intensified till October in an attempt to convince the Old Continent that Turkey deserves something in return for halting the migrant flow to the EU.

However, the main practical issue of fulfilling the remaining five EU requirements in order to be granted visa-free travel still exists while Turkey reveals its unwillingness to materiaze any of them.

Turkish warnings

There has been a remarkable increase of Turkish statements demanding visa deliberations short after the failed coup attempt on July 15. Several governmental officials such as Turkey’s EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik and Mevlut Cavusoglu together with the president of Turkey have continuously warned the EU to grant them visa-free travel in order to not put a bitter end to the EU-Turkey refugee agreement.

Specifically, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already made three similar statements on the issue during this month. In his last one on August 12, Erdogan says: “The visa liberalization and readmission are very important. The process is currently ongoing. Unfortunately, Europe has failed to keep its promise on the issue. We want to take steps simultaneously. If (the visa waiver) happens, fine. If not, I’m sorry but we’ll stop the readmissions.”

Data protection and anti-terror laws

Turkey has not yet met its 72 requirements required to provide to the Turks with visa-free travel to the Schengen zone. The Commission Spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud said last Tuesday that Turkey has not fulfilled five conditions regarding its data protection and anti-terror laws, which can deal with the plaguing terrorism menace more successfully.

The EU basically wants Turkey to modify its definition of terrorism in order to avoid potential crackdowns on journalists and to ensure fair trials and freedom of speech. Natasha Bertaud mentioned explicitly on the issue: “The reason we have this benchmark is because we want our partners and neighbors to fight terrorism effectively. What we are asking is that there is an element of proportionality introduced into the definition of terrorism currently under Turkish legislation”.

Is the EU ready to deal with Turkish threats?

The migration crisis has caused immense problems to Europe during 2015 putting the bloc’s unity and Schengen’s agreement at risk. The influx of migrants has been stemmed after the EU signed the one-to-one agreement with Turkey. But what if Turkey breaks the deal?

Europe does not seem to have any plan except for the one to keep on improving its relations with Turkey. The latter is understood also by the words of the German Finance Minister who said that it is crucial to continue cooperating with the Turkish President to secure his aid in coping with the refugee crisis. Wolfgang Schaeuble stressed out during an event at the northern German city of Rostock: “I absolutely don’t like what Erdogan is doing, but I don’t agree that … we should end cooperation with him. It is in our own interest to keep working together.”

On the other hand, Austria argues that the EU does not need Turkey to deal with the migration crisis but a “real Plan A”. The Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz told last Monday Focus Online: “We must not give in to blackmail and therefore do not need a plan B. We at last need a proper plan A”. This proper plan A requires though a unification of all EU member states in order to tackle migration efficiently; a condition that has terribly failed to be implemented in the past.

Europe convenes to discuss its problems

Donald Tusk will meet all EU leaders to discuss about the handling and substance of the informal meeting of the 27 member states in Bratislava on September 16. The president of the European Council begins by having a working dinner today with German Chancellor Angela Merkel where both the EU-Turkey migration deal and Brexit are most likely to be on the main agenda.

All in all, there is not much time left for the EU if Turkey indeed quits the refugee agreement next October. Europe’s top priority now remains the migration crisis with the EU leaders to be asked to bring to the table practical solutions.

What Erdogan really wants

Politics are structured based on opportunities and events that come up but those events per se are rarely the main reason for any dispute. Instead the main reason is well pre-existing and describes the political goal of the politician. In the case of Erdogan in the post coup era he thinks he has to prove to the world how strong he is and how stable Turkey is by achieving something great. However, getting the Visa-free status from the EU while not doing anything about the preconditions set, is not just a great accomplishment but rather an impossible one.

In reality, Erdogan could not care less at this moment about whether his citizens get an extra stamp on their passport or not, when travelling to the EU. Demanding the impossible from the EU means that he seeks collision with the bloc, and he seeks it right now. His sultanate does not fit with any of the EU ideals anyway and it possibly never will.  He aspires now Turkey to have a clearly separate road from the EU but at the same time the whole world to pay and invest on him for any issue where Turkey can capitalise its geopolitical advantage, e.g. the migration crisis, the fight against ISIS, you name it.

In the West, though, we do things a bit differently. The moment someone thinks he has too much power in an organisation or any construct, he is bound to be replaced immediately or he is badly sued and fined. Having said that, Erdogan is bound not to have it his way this time, the EU-Turkey deal will most likely come to a bitter end this autumn and the EU will have no option but to make a huge mistake, give the billions granted to Turkey to its natural biggest competitor, NATO and co.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Teachers launch a free ebook to help children cope with the pandemic

Faith can overcome religious nationalism. Here’s how

Climate change and health – can medical students be the solution?

To feed 10 billion people, we must preserve biodiversity. Here’s how

Commission launches open access publishing platform for scientific papers

The world’s fatigue from COVID-19

Why women aren’t allowed to work

UN chief underscores value of cooperation with Southeast Asian countries

“One Belt One Road”: Its relevance to the European Companies

Coronavirus: Commission Statement on consulting Member States on proposal to further expand State aid Temporary Framework to recapitalisation measures

Peru is building a new international airport near Machu Picchu – and archaeologists are worried

European Energy Union: Integration of markets and need for in-house energy production

New York City has a plan to fight fast fashion waste. Here’s how it works

MWC 2016 LIVE: Xiaomi looks to revive growth with flagships

Another doomed EU attempt to interfere in Libya?

The ECB must extend its money stimulus beyond 2018: Draghi reckoning

How to provide health education and thus create better health systems

UN chief appeals for calm as Mali presidential election draws to a close

What the EU is doing to foster human-centric AI

Women’s Rights: Another Challenge for Medical Students

A machine din

Egypt is building one of the world’s largest solar parks

OK computer: why the machine age still needs humans

G20 LIVE: The European Sting covers online world news and the latest developments at G20 from Antalya Turkey

Why people with disabilities are your company’s untapped resource

Monday’s Daily Brief: US-DPRK relationship reset, ‘Horrific’ Kabul bombing, Anti-conscription plan in Syria, Climate change heat stress, Security Council in Iraq

3 reasons why embracing the circular economy can be powerful for middle income countries

How microfinance develops decent work

Reforms in a few countries drive a decline in average OECD labour taxes

‘Compelling case’ for urgency around global disarmament, UN-led forum told

Are Halloween pumpkins a problem for the planet?

Ukraine: EU allocates €25.4 million in humanitarian aid

Flexible jobs can make work-life balance worse, a German study finds

EP’s MFF negotiators disappointed by failure of EU budget summit

When is necessary understand the cultural marks in health-disease process

Somalia advancing towards ‘inclusive and peaceful future’ for women, deputy UN chief

South Sudan: €48.5 million in additional EU humanitarian aid

Brexit uncertainty keeps shaking the world’s financial markets

This is the most sustainable way to use fashion – and it’s not renting clothes

Strengthening European unity is in all our interests, says Luxembourg PM Bettel

EU external action budget: European Commission welcomes the final adoption of the EU’s new long-term external action budget for 2021-2027

How women are transforming the Arab world’s start-up scene

How fintech is making investment accessible

Rapid growth in China post-COVID makes it ripe for investment

What we need for a better European Solidarity Corps

New SDG Advocates sign up for ‘peace, prosperity, people’ and planet, on the road to 2030

Can one FTA and 110 lobby meetings make the dirty oil clean in Europe?

Millions at risk if Syria’s war moves to last redoubt of Idlib, warns senior aid official

Parliament wants to suspend EU accession negotiations with Turkey

Why strive for Industry 4.0

MEPs approve new, more inclusive Erasmus+ programme

Have we reached peak smartphone?

These 2 teenagers have helped change the law on plastic pollution in Indonesia

Jordan flash flooding: UN chief ‘saddened’ by loss of life

Macao: EU reports on political and economic developments in 2020

Sudan Partnership Conference: EU mobilises more support for Sudan’s transition

Thousands of Syrians in ‘life and death’ struggle amid harsh conditions in remote desert camp, UN warns

Portuguese Presidency outlines priorities to EP committees

This research can help organizations plan for different COVID-19 scenarios

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s