World View: EU’s Expected Scathing Report on Turkey May Scuttle Refugee Deal

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said German Chancellor Angela Merkel has yet to respond to requests to hand over suspects from the July 15 failed coup

This morning’s key headlines from

  • EU’s expected scathing report on Turkey may scuttle refugee deal
  • Austria says EU must prepare for collapse of Turkey migrant deal
  • Hungary’s Viktor Orbán defeated in attempt to ban refugee quotas

EU’s expected scathing report on Turkey may scuttle refugee deal

Hungary border protection (AP)
Hungary border protection (AP)

The European Commission on Tuesday will issue it annual report on Turkey’s progress towards European Union membership, and the report is expected to be scathingly critical. According to media reports, it will criticize Turkey’s crackdown on more than 110,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants who have been fired or jailed. About 35,000 have been jailed after being accused, often with no evidence, of supporting the July 15 aborted coup attempt or of being a supporter of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

It will also reference the threat by Turkey’s president Racep Tayyip Erdogan to reinstate the death penalty. This alone will end talks for Turkey to join the European Union. It could also mean the end of visa liberalization plans that would permit Turkey’s citizens to travel freely in Europe without a visa.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Jüncker said the following:

I note with bitterness, I who am a friend of Turkey, that Turkey is distancing itself from Europe every day. … All that the Turkish authorities are doing today leads me to believe that in the end Turkey does not want to … meet European standards…

If tomorrow we refused visa liberalization for Turkey, the blame should not be put on Europe but on the Turkish authorities. Mr. Erdogan will have to explain to the Turks why they cannot travel freely across Europe like every other European, because he will be the one who has not fulfilled the conditions jointly agreed between Turkey and the European Union…

We need Turkey. But we cannot give up on our main principles.

In a speech on Sunday, Erdogan responded to accusations from the EU that he was becoming a dictator, and expressed contempt for the EU concern for human rights over the need to stop terrorism in Turkey:

Europe has been on a course that is leading to its own demise.

Those who are willing to drown the rest of the world in blood to preserve the sense of security and peace inside their own borders move further from humanity each day.

Erdogan has ridiculed the EU for having a weak policy for refugees, when Turkey has taken in at least 2.7 million Syrian refugees and houses 270,000 in 26 provisional refugee camps with food, health and education services as well as psychological support, vocational education and social activities, and has spent 7 billion euros meeting their needs.

The EU-Turkey migrant deal has been dramatically successful, reducing the number of migrants traveling across the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece to around a few dozen per day, down from thousands per day last year. However, the terms of that deal require visa liberalization, visa-free travel for all Turkish citizens in Europe’s Schengen Zone, as well as billions of dollars in aid to Syrian refugees in Turkey. Those terms were to be met by June of this year, but they have not yet taken place.

Now Jean-Claude Jüncker is suggesting that visa liberalization will not occur at all. Turkish officials have repeatedly said that without visa liberalization, the EU-Turkey deal would be canceled, suggesting that once more there would be thousands of Syrian refugees per day crossing from Turkey to Greece.

The words between EU and Turkish officials have been getting increasingly vitriolic, but so far they’re just words. Wednesday’s EU progress report on Turkey could change things to stoking more nationalism in Turkey, but so far there are no signs that Turkey is really about to cancel the deal. Euro News and Reuters

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Austria says EU must prepare for collapse of Turkey migrant deal

Austria will meet next with the central European nations of the Visegrad group – Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic – all of whom are opposed to the EU’s migrant policy, to prepare for the collapse of the EU-Turkey migrant deal.

According to Hans Peter Doskozil, Austria’s defense minister:

I have always said that the EU-Turkey deal should only be a stop-gap measure until the EU is in the position to effectively protect its external borders and thereby stem the flow of migrants. The time to organize for that is ever closer.

Austria is calling for tougher border controls, and an end of aid to Turkey.

Austria’s foreign minister Sebastian Kurz said that the EU must adopt a different policy:

Over recent years Turkey has moved further and further away from the EU, but our policy has remained the same. That can’t work. What we need are clear consequences.

In Turkey, opposition figures are being arrested, journalists are being persecuted, officials are being fired if they think differently and the return of the death penalty is being talked about.

[Stopping the funds] is the logical consequence … It is quite clear that this money will not flow if Turkey does not stick to its side of the deal.

Other EU leaders are becoming using increasingly vitriolic words towards Turkey. Luxembourg’s foreign minister Jean Asselborn referred to Turkey’s dismissal of civil servants and firing of academics:

To put it bluntly, these are methods that were used during the Nazi era and that’s a really, really bad development … that the EU simply cannot accept.

As I’ve been writing for years, in the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war, the US and the West will be allied with Japan, India, Russia and Iran, fighting against China, Pakistan, and the Sunni Muslim countries, including Turkey. Deutsche Welle and Hurriyet (Ankara) and EU Observer

Hungary’s Viktor Orbán defeated in attempt to ban refugee quotas

Hungary’s anti-immigrant prime minister Viktor Orbán suffered a setback on Tuesday when the the parliament rejected an anti-migrant bill in response to the European Union resettlement plan and a specific EU quota to allow a reported 1,294 refugees to relocate to Hungary.

The parliamentary rejection occurred because the MPs of the anti-immigrant Jobbik, which would have been expected to support the bill, abstained on the vote. Jobbik was objecting to a separate measure supported by Orbán that permitted any foreigner with $331,000 to settle in Hungary. According to Jobbik MP Marton Gyongyosi:

We have said that of course we are against the resettlements to Hungary by Brussels and we are against migration quotas, but we are equally against migrants to Hungary who perhaps have €300,000 to spend. If you want to say ‘No’ to poor ones, you have to say ‘No’ to rich migrants.

This is Orbán’s second recent setback. Orbán supported a divisive reference that was held on October 2 on the same subject. Of the 3.3 million people who voted, 98% supported the referendum. But the referendum failed anyway, according to Hungary’s constitution, because only 40.4% of Hungary’s voters voted, short of the required 50% threshold. Budapest Business Journal and CNN and BBC

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, European Commission, Turkey, Jean-Claude Jüncker, Racep Tayyip Erdogan, Greece, Schengen Zone, Austria, Visegrad group, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hans Peter Doskozil, Sebastian Kurz, Luxembourg, Jean Asselborn, Hungary, Viktor Orbán, Jobbik, Marton Gyongyosi
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