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Erdoğan mocks EU over “help for migrants”

European media continue to widely report on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s two-day visit in Brussels and on-going negotiations over the refugee crisis. Yesterday Mr Erdoğan met with European Council President Donald Tusk, and urged the EU to allocate more funds for Turkey. The Malta Times reports that Mr Erdoğan mocked European Union overtures for help with its migration crisis. Erdoğan, preparing for a November 1st parliamentary election, boasted of Turkey’s record in taking two million refugees from neighbouring Syria and Iraq, and contrasted it with the numbers passing through the EU. “While we host 2.2 million refugees, Europe as a whole houses less than 250,000 refugees in total,” Erdoğan said at a televised meeting with Belgian business leaders.

The EU has already earmarked “at least one billion” for Turkey, La Stampa recalls. The Turkish President also met with EC President Jean Claude Juncker, and said he agreed on the principle of a common action plan on migrants. Yet, a senior EU official involved in the negotiations said the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung report, which detailed six new camps for two million, was “not in line with what we have been discussing”. Instead, Mr Erdoğan called to establish a safe zone in Syria for migrants and a no-fly zone. A diplomatic source reported that, in exchange, Mr Erdoğan called on the EU to remove any obstacle to liberalise touristic visas. Eventually, Turkey would like Brussels to reconsider its EU accession application. Mr Erdoğan underlined that Turkey’s stalled EU accession process should be revitalised and “devoid of artificial political considerations“.

The welcome for Mr Erdoğan yesterday contrasted with the cool reception Turkey has received over the past two decades over its bid to join the EU, comments The Independent. According to Politiken, the refugee crisis may open the way for closer relations between the EU and Turkey. Europe hopes that Turkey will act as the guardian of the EU’s external borders, writes Wieland Schneider in today’s editorial forDie Presse. But he argues that it would be a bad and dangerous thing if Europe, in exchange, condoned President Erdoğan’s other actions. EU institutions should speak out much more clearly against Turkish authorities’ pressure on journalists, and member states should try everything to revive the peace process between the Turkish government and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). In this great horse-trading session, sore points are going to be put aside. But they will still weigh on the talks, which will not lead to more than limited compromises,” Libération writes. Les Echos reports that Mr Erdoğan has a clear intention to achieve some breakthroughs in a broader negotiation with Europe, and yesterday he did obtain some encouraging statements from President Juncker and President Tusk. It is however unlikely that any commitment will be taken before the Turkish general elections on November 1st.

Meanwhile, several European media report that Germany is facing an influx of 1.5 million refugees this year, almost twice its official estimate, and could lead to further pressure on Angela Merkel. It will also shock EU leaders, some of whom have criticised Germany’s willingness to accept large numbers of refugees who they say could eventually end up in other countries under freedom of movement rules, writes The Daily Telegraph.

©europeanunion2015

Comments
  1. Erdogan because he wages war against Syria and grossly interferes in the internal affairs of that country, with even sending armed men, should sent to the ICC in The Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    Comment by Willy Van Damme on October 14, 2015 at 6:36 pm
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