Does the EU have the people of Europe locked in a no-win game?
Turkey is threatening to flood Europe with mass migration unless the European Union grants Turkish nationals visa-free travel to the 26 EU member nations.
The Turkish government points to a June 2016 EU-Turkey migrant deal in which Ankara agreed to control the mass flow of migrants into Europe in exchange for visa liberalization.
The deal came as European leaders sought to stem the crisis in which over one million migrants flocked to Europe in 2015.
Turkey warns they will back out of the deal because the EU has not lived up to its part of the agreement.
“We have suspended the readmission agreement,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu said during a July 22 interview. “We will not wait at the EU’s door.”
A day before, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said European countries have left Turkey to handle the migrant issue alone.
“We are facing the biggest wave of migration in history,” Soylu told the state-run Anadolu Agency. “If we open the floodgates, no European government will be able to survive for more than six months. We advise them not to try our patience.”
Turkey presently hosts approximately 3.5 million migrants and refugees, mostly from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. If given the opportunity, the majority of these would likely resettle in Europe.
Under the 2016 deal, the EU not only promised Turkey’s 82 million citizens visa-free to Europe’s passport-free zones, but also pledged to pay Turkey $6.7 billion and restart accession talks for the Muslim nation to become part of the EU.
These offers were based on Turkey’s fulfillment of 72 conditions, which include updating Turkish passports to European security standards, providing data on fraudulent documents that have been used to gain entry to Europe, and granting work permits to non-Syrian migrants.
European officials maintain that while Turkey has stemmed the flow of migrants and met most of its commitments, it has failed on key conditions, such as relaxing its anti-terrorism laws.
The EU has deemed these laws, enacted by the Turkish government in the wake of a failed coup in July 2016, to be human-rights violations. EU officials say Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is using these laws to silence his critics.
More than 95,000 Turkish citizens have been arrested and over 160,000 teachers, civil servants, police officers, and soldiers have been fired or suspended from governmental associations.
This resulted in the European Parliament calling for a suspension of accession talks in March. “While the EU accession process was at its start a strong motivation for reforms in Turkey, there has been a stark regression in the areas of the rule of law and human rights during the last few years,” the adopted text read.
Turkey was originally promised EU membership in 1963. Ankara formally applied for membership in 1987 and talks began in 2005.
But those talks stalled when the Turkish government refused to open its country’s ports and airports to trade from Cyprus.
Turkey’s relationship with the Mediterranean republic has been a stumbling block. In July, the EU suspended contact with high-level Turkish officials and pulled financial aid to the country as a punitive measure over Turkey’s oil and gas drilling in Cypriot territorial waters.
If Turkey were accepted into the EU, it would replace Germany as the largest member nation in terms of population — meaning the largest country in the EU would be Muslim.
Millions of Turks would then be able to freely travel to Europe’s passport-free zone. Opponents of Turkish entry into the EU say this would result in mass immigration from Turkey to Europe.
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy expressed the view of many Europeans in 2016 when he said that “Turkey has no place in Europe. I have always adhered to this position, it is based on common sense.”
Sarkozy went on to argue:
What's the idea behind Europe? Europe is a union of European countries. The question is very simple, even in a geographical sense, is Turkey a European country? Turkey has only one shore of the Bosporus in Europe. Can Turkey be regarded a European country culturally, historically, and economically speaking? If we say that, we want the European Union's death.
Erdoğan affirmed in May that Turkey is still committed to joining the EU. Ankara still holds leverage in the accession question as it can choose to open the door to unchecked migration from the Middle East to Europe if its demands are not met.
Thus, Europeans find themselves between a rock and hard place. Mass migration from Turkey or mass migration from Syria and Afghanistan.
Of course, European countries could reject both by protecting their own borders. But so long as Europeans remain entangled in the EU, they will continue to be confronted by self-defeating false dilemmas.
Image: MarianVejcik via iStock / Getty Images Plus
Luis Miguel is a marketer and writer whose journalistic endeavors shed light on the Deep State, the immigration crisis, and the enemies of freedom. Follow his exploits on Facebook, Twitter, Bitchute, and at luisantoniomiguel.com.