No Trust Undermines EU Migrant Deal With Turkey

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Written By Farid Shojaei

European Union leaders are holding summit talks to decide what to do about Turkey and the migrant crisis.

Millions of refugees are on the move between countries as far away as Afghanistan and Pakistan, through the danger zone of Syria and on towards Turkey, which is viewed as the first safe haven in the region.

Hundreds of thousands of these refugees are living in torrid camps or have moved to Turkish towns and cities.

The tide of human misery then floods across the narrow channels to the Greek islands off the Mediterranean cost of Turkey into the European Union.

The grand plan is to pay Turkey to take back migrants who cross into Europe.

Cash and concessions

In return, the opportunistic Turkish government has seized the chance to force cash and concessions out of the EU.

In return for stopping turning a blind eye to the people traffickers seemingly operating freely within Turkey who are making millions out of misery, the Turks want better access to Europe.

Visa free travel and a fast-track to join the EU along with billions of euros to fund looking after the refugees top their list of demands.

But the EU has a bitter sweet relationship with Turkey.

Many can sympathise with the nation acting as a buffer between militants and migrants from the Middle East and beyond. Turkey has borne the brunt of terror attacks killing and maiming hundreds sent across the border by Kurds and ISIS rebels.

Appalling human rights record

However, the Turkish government also has an appalling human rights record of deaths and violence against political opponents and Kurd separatists.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel summed up how Europe regards the Turks.

“What Turkey has done for almost three million refugees can’t be praised highly enough, while Europe’s 28 states with 500 million inhabitants has not exactly covered itself in glory, “she said.

Germany and the rest of Europe seems less keen to give Turkey guarantees about joining the EU, just an agreement to have talks about talks, while visa free travel comes with 72 conditions attached.

The EU is also holding back on pledging cash – doubling aid to £4.7 billion depends on how spending the first tranche turns out.

Nothing is certain and the EU seems wary of giving guarantees that could easily be undermined by the Turks.

It seems before moving forward, a position of trust needs establishing between both sides.