Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Time for Plan B: Europe Must Not Be Blackmailed by Islamist Turkey.

Time for Plan B: Europe Must Not Be Blackmailed by Islamist Turkey. (Spiegel).

After agreeing to help the European Union control the flow of migrants heading north, the Turkish government now feels empowered to use the deal as leverage. Europe must now find an alternative to its agreement with Ankara, lest it subject itself to blackmail.

To be sure, there are good reasons to grant Turks a visa waiver. But right now, it's especially important that Europe insist Ankara first meet the criteria the EU has determined necessary for that waiver to happen. That includes a reform of Turkey's anti-terror laws, which the government has been using to imprison political opponents without due process.
The EU must not let itself be blackmailed by Erdogan, whose autocratic tendencies became visible once again during the last few weeks.
Turkey is in a dangerous state of crisis after last month's failed coup. Europe -- correctly -- condemned the attempted takeover by parts of the army, and now it must work to ensure that Erdogan returns to the rule of law.

Turkish democracy is endangered by the post-coup purge, which included the dismissals and arrests of tens of thousands of lawyers, judges, journalists and members of the military. At the same time, an anti-Western sentiment has taken root in Turkish politics and society. The government in Ankara wrongly accuses Europe and the United States of not condemning the coup strongly enough or of secretly having supported it. This type of thinking is what spawned the threat to scuttle the refugee deal.

As long as things remain this way, there's only one option: The EU must use European funds to build refugee camps in Greece and Italy, where asylum applications can then be processed. This would, however, be a massive burden for the affected countries. At the same time, leaders of the EU member states need to create more opportunities for legal entry for asylum-seekers and compel at least some EU countries to accept refugees.

These are indeed depressing prospects, but the truth is that morally, it's not better to keep sending Ankara billions of euros in order to keep migrants in Turkey rather than accommodating them on European soil -- especially not when doing so puts you at the mercy of a man whose country could itself soon be the source of the next wave of political refugees. Hmmm.....You don't negotiation with terrorists or blackmailers. Read the full story here.

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