Ankara, October 26, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
The resumption of the refugee wave an advantage for Erdogan
The director of SETA Center Fahrettin Altun speaks to IBNA
By Manolis Kostidis
Last Sunday Angela Merkel sat on the golden armchair at the Yildiz Palace in Istanbul, and together with her host, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, announced a major agreement for her country and for the EU.
Opposition in Germany argues that she appointed Ankara as “guardian” of the eastern border of the EU to prevent the refugee wave, giving over USD 3 billion of economic aid, the promise to accelerate the accession process of Turkey and facilitate the free movement of Turkish citizens.
Many in Germany have accused her of taking rush actions as Turkey will hold parliamentary elections on November 1 and there is the possibility that this meeting will be a pre-election gift to the pair Erdogan-Davutoglu.
But the German Chancellor is indeed in a hurry and has good reason for that, as in the period September-October the number of refugees who arrived in Germany exceeded 400,000 and almost on a daily basis now, 10,000 Syrian refugees settle in Germany.
The number of refugees currently hosted in Turkey exceed 2 million, and Berlin as well as Brussels does not want to think of the possibility of all these people moving to the West.
“Merkel only knows of financial assistance”
“Merkel is in panic. She has no time to think about whether Turkey will manage to stop this flow of refugees with the present government. That is why she brought to Istanbul what the EU knows best, which is financial assistance”, says the political analyst Cengiz Çandar.
A few days before the arrival of Merkel, the Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu had stated that “the EU has rediscovered Turkey. But Turkey should not be a country some remembered only in times of crisis”.
In Turkey, the opposition says that he EU through Merkel sacrificed many of its principles, on democratisation, human rights, etc. and dealt only with the realistic policy of the “strategic partnership” with Turkey. Indeed, the German Chancellor promised the openings of Chapters for Turkey’s accession without the authorization of a Member State, the Republic of Cyprus, which has already announced that it will not accept any process without Ankara first fulfilling its obligations.
“The Turkey-EU relations that have come to life bring a hope because it is better than nonexistent relations. The opposite scenario was the way the AKP was leading Turkey to turn it into a Middle Eastern country, something like Syria. But paradoxically, it was the Syrians who turned Turkey’s progress towards the EU and revived the EU-Turkey relations”, Candar points out.
“There is no bargaining, but only the reality of the refugees that must be addressed”
The director of the Center of Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA), Fahrettin Altun, speaking to IBNA expressed a different view and argued that “the visit of Merkel and the agreement was a necessity. Turkey has been facing this problem with the refugees for many years. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, about two years ago, had argued that today we have this problem, at some point in the near future it will also be a problem of Europe… However, there hasn’t been a bargaining of financial assistance or some other promise, as some want to present it, for the obstruction of refugees. It is just that Europe is starting to see that the problem involves them as well and that is why they began discussing it with Turkey which is the host country of refugees arriving from Syria. As for the wave of refugees, Turkey already has not allowed anyone to go through its land borders. The problem is at the sea and I don’t know what can be done there, despite the help. However, we can’t speak of a gift to Erdogan when Turkey has already has spent USD 7 billion and has done so much for the refugees”.