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Erdogan’s ultimatums about migrants are dangerous for Europe

Turkey have announced several migration ultimatum to Europe so far

For example, if the EU does not abolish visas for Turks, Ankara will break agreements with Brussels and bring a new wave of refugees to the Old World. These threats were already used by Turkey before. However, now, when Turkey restored relations with Moscow, the ultimatum sounds much more weighty.

In an interview with the German Bild newspaper, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu warned: if the EU does not grant a visa-free regime with Ankara by October, the country will break the migration agreement. Asked by the journalist whether a new wave of refugees would overwhelm Europe in this case, the diplomat stated that he “did not want to speak about the worst option”, although he did not rule it out.

August 8, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in an interview with TASS explained the reasons for such a tough stance. “We started the negotiation process on joining the EU in 1963. Since then, and to this day, unfortunately, 53 years have passed, and still they continue to fool us, “the politician said on the eve of the meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to Erdogan, Turkey’s costs for resolving the migration problem exceeded $ 20 billion already, and Europe does not provide much of the promised assistance. Of the promised $ 6 billion, the EU has provided $ 500 million in strength, the official Ankara complains.

The number of migrants in Turkey (most of them – the Syrians) is approaching 3 million people. In 2016, slightly more than 262,000 refugees arrived in Europe. 160 thousand people from the total number of Greece.

According to the current deal, all illegal migrants who appear on the territory of the EU are sent to Turkey. For each of them Ankara sends to Europe one legal migrant officially registered in Turkish refugee camps. According to Frontex, the EU agency for the security of external borders, about 1 million refugees will arrive in Europe in 2016. In 2015, 1.82 million refugees arrived in Europe. These data take into account the deal with Turkey.

The second ultimatum was nest.

Turkey has previously put the EU such an ultimatum. On April 18 of 2017, the Turkish government threatened to withdraw from the agreement if the EU does not lift visa restrictions for Turkish citizens until June this year. Then German Chancellor Angela Merkel and EU leaders managed to come to an agreement with Ankara. However, this time there are fewer chances.

According to Alexander Rahr, the scientific director of the German-Russian forum, those ultimatum of Turkey differed from previous one:  improving Ankara’s relations with Moscow. “Today Turkey is much more serious,” the expert said. “Previously, the EU had the confidence that with the help of diplomatic and economic levers it would be able to press on Turkey and once again pay off the hidden conflict around the visa regime.”

So long as the conflict between Russia and Turkey continues, aggravated after the military incident in Syria in November 2015, Ankara had no alternative partner, except for Western countries.

Under these conditions, the EU could dictate its terms to Turkey. Now the Russian-Turkish relations are improving, and Brussels has lost an important lever of influence.

In addition to the long-standing grievances of Turkey, which have become aggravated today, Brussels has also faced Moscow’s discontent over the “war of sanctions” and the conflict in eastern Ukraine. In accordance with this, “the current link between Russia and Turkey is a real headache for the European Union,” the source of Gazeta.Ru added.

According to Rahr, today the EU faces a choice of two options, which in both cases guarantees a blow to the international influence of Brussels. Either Ankara breaks the deal and Europe faces a new wave of migration crisis, or Brussels agrees to the conditions of Turkey, gives its citizens a visa-free regime and renounces its current position. It is that the country has not fulfilled some of the conditions that allow to weaken the visa regime. This will demonstrate that Turkey can dictate its conditions to Europe.

At the moment, the provision of a visa-free regime for Turkey from the EU looks like a complete disregard for European values, says Olga Gulina, director of the Berlin Institute for Migration Policy. “Ankara, although it continues to accept migrants, behaves outside the borders and borders that could be perceived by Europeans with their eyes closed,” the expert says.

– Here are “anti-terrorism” legislation, and persecution of civilians (the cancellation of passports for travel abroad), and the dismissal of academics as a reaction to an attempted military coup. ”

Strong criticism from the EU has also caused recent changes in Turkish law: sexual violence is now qualified as a crime of a sexual nature only if the victim is under 15 years old.

The fate of the migration agreement between Turkey and the EU, according to Gulina, will be solved by two factors: the policy of Turkey itself, as well as the discussion of the so-called plan “B”, which promises to develop the authorities of Austria by the beginning of the autumn session.

The balance of forces between the supporters of the agreement and the granting of the liberal visa regime of Turkey (among them the head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and the German Chancellor Merkel) will decide the situation and opponents of concessions to Ankara (for example, German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier) “.

By the way, it is to the beginning of the new session of the European Parliament – in the first days of September – Turkey is going to visit the EU High Commissioner for Migration and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopulos. He, obviously, will try to smooth out the acute angles in relations with the Turkish authorities.

Fear and hatred are at the borders.

As Herald Knaus, the founder of the “European Stability Initiative”, which monitors migration flows to Europe, said earlier, “Europe is unlikely to cope with a new wave of refugees without Turkey. “The EU does not have time to build facilities for the accommodation and registration of refugees in Greece,” the expert said. “Besides, the European Union does not always accept as many legal refugees from Turkey.”

“Whether there have been enough centers for reception and distribution of refugees in Greece, the answer to this question is simple: no. According to the latest data, the number of border crossings by sea is growing in the EU, the increase was + 17%. According to the International Organization for Migration, at the end of July arrivals – 259 thousand against 219 thousand in July 2015, – said Olga Gulina. – At the same time, another tragic figure is growing – the number of deaths among arrivals by sea. An increase of almost 15% is recorded. ”

The fundamental reluctance to receive refugees in the EU and possible obstacles in their way today has become a systemic problem that ensures that a new wave of migrants will become an even greater blow to European security.

In early 2015, due to the deteriorating situation in the Middle East and North Africa, the flow of migrants to the EU countries has increased manyfold. Because of the unpreparedness of Europe to promptly accept and distribute hundreds of thousands of refugees, the largest migration crisis since World War II emerged.

Since 2015, European states that found themselves on the path of migration flow began to build walls and wire barriers on their borders, narrowing and pushing the flow to the periphery and neighboring states.

Recently, as reported by Euronews, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has put forward a new ultimatum to the European Union, threatening to freeze the deal on the return of refugees.

The Turkish leader made it clear that he expects from the EU first of all progress in negotiations on a visa-free regime; In addition, he stated that the financial assistance promised by Brussels for the resettlement of refugees had not yet been received.

– These talks will be held by our foreign and European affairs ministers. If the agreement is not reached, then — nothing personal – the law on the necessary steps for the readmission agreement will not pass through the parliament, “Erdogan said.

The agreement concluded in March implies that Turkey will take back illegal immigrants who have penetrated into Europe from its territory. In return, the EU will accept Syrian refugees residing in Turkey, provide Ankara with financial assistance and visa-free regime.

However, Brussels is linking the abolition of visas with a number of conditions, one of the key ones is the liberalization of anti-terrorism legislation. The Turkish leadership strongly opposes this.

Not so long ago an ultimatum was put forward by the United States.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on March 16 that if the United States wants to cooperate with him on Syria, they should withdraw Kurdish formations from Syrian Manbige, A Haber television channel reported. At the same time, he stressed that the Turkish soldiers had already taken control of three-quarters of Afrina. Earlier, Erdogan said more than once that after the capture of Afrin he would hit Manibidge, where the Kurdish “People’s Self-Defense Forces” are located.

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