German Chancellor Angela Merkel has insisted “We are seeking a balance of interests”, in response to the suggestion the Turkish delegation are enjoying the upper hand over the European Union (EU) in this week’s migrant crisis talks.
Despite the insistence by the German leader that the outcomes of the talks would be balanced, the leader of the Turkish delegation prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu has apparently delighted with negotiations. Confirming that a price of Turkey controlling the hundreds of thousands of migrants flowing to Europe would be Europe opening her borders to Asia Minor, he said: “Turkey is ready to work with the EU, and Turkey is ready to be a member of the EU as well”.
When questioned on whether Turkey had successfully blackmailed Europe with the threat of unlimited migration of asylum seekers, Mrs. Merkel replied: “We are seeking a balance of interests… We have our interests, Turkey have theirs”.
Although the EU rejected the plan to boost Turkey’s bribe to €6 billion, and to extend the visa-free area to Turkey by mid-2016, the decision has merely been put back until next week. The German government has a series of important state elections to fight this coming weekend, and The Times reports agreements over what precise benefits Turkey can expect will be postponed until after voting has been completed.
State governments will be facing off a significant challenge from the insurgent, anti-mass migration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which has already performed strongly in local elections last weekend and has been tipped for strong results in some states. Postponing the ‘bad news’ of significant amounts of taxpayers money being sent to Turkey and the welcoming of 75 million Turks into the visa free zone has been interpreted as a move to avoid playing into the AfD’s hands so soon before the elections.
It is alleged the €6 billion figure presently being discussed publicly in Brussels is quite short of the €20 billion demanded by Turkey, and many have expressed concern at employing Turkey to act as Europe’s gate guardian, or bouncer, indefinitely.
Senior AfD politician Armin-Paul Hampel said there were “pitfalls” to the plan, and leading German Green politician Claudia Roth has remarked that Europe has “entered a fatal dependence on Erdogan [the Turkish president]”, and the fate of Europe “is now in the hands of this autocrat… Turkey is part of the problem”.
Meanwhile in Brussels, UKIP leader Nigel Farage has blasted the “blackmail” by Turkey, and compared their repeated demands for money in exchange for not unleashing migrants on the continent to the payments of gold ransom by England in the 9th century to Viking raiders.
Taking a swipe at the British prime minister, who has recently been under fire for conducting a less than satisfactory renegotiation of powers with the European Union, Mr Farage said: “My goodness me, I wish that David Cameron was as good at negotiations as the Turks are”.