Merkel’s visit to Turkey : Minor compromises …


Price worth paying!

President Donald TUSK - S&D group President Gianni PITTELLA - President TUSK with Co-presidents of the Greens/EFA group Rebecca HARMS and Philippe LAMBERTS - President TUSK with President of the ALDE group Guy VERHOFSTADT - 20/10/2015 EP-Brussels. (Photocredit, EU Council.

President Donald TUSK – S&D group President Gianni PITTELLA – President TUSK with Co-presidents of the Greens/EFA group Rebecca HARMS and Philippe LAMBERTS – President TUSK with President of the ALDE group Guy VERHOFSTADT – 20/10/2015 EP-Brussels. (Photocredit, EU Council.

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Turkey is a fundamental partner, but human rights must be guaranteed

20/10/2015 – Today, President of the Socialists and Democrats Group, Gianni Pittella, discussed the future of EU-Turkey relations with the President of the EU Council, Donald Tusk. Speaking after their meeting, Pittella said:

“We are and have always been the greatest supporter of the Turkey’s integration to the European Union. Hence, we welcome the idea of opening new, relevant negotiation chapters. We also consider Turkey as a central partner in facing the migration crisis, as well as a major player in solving the conflict in Syria. However, the respect for fundamental rights must be combined with the EU’s long-term strategy of greater cooperation with Turkey. Human rights, press freedom and minority rights must be guaranteed and empowered throughout the whole of Turkey. I want to make this very clear to Donald Tusk, especially now as decisive elections are imminent in Turkey.

“We reiterated our urgent call for the creation of a permanent and binding mechanism on migration and asylum that moves beyond the anachronistic Dublin agreement. Likewise it is of fundamental importance that legal pathways to the EU are created for economic migrants.

“Last but not least, we urge the Council and all member states to use the La Valletta summit as an occasion to put in place a comprehensive strategy with African countries; one which embraces not only the migration dimension, but also a real economic and political long-term partnership in order to boost the socio-economic development of the continent.”

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EU Should Make Minor Compromises for Turkey’s Help on Refugees

by Michael Leigh – October 20, 2015 ; WASHINGTON—German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s dash to Istanbul on October 18 was a gift to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Erdoğan is hoping that his Justice and Development Party (AKP) will regain its majority in the November 1 general election, after a setback last June, enabling him to call a referendum to strengthen the president’s constitutional powers. The outcome of the general election could, therefore, settle Turkey’s political fate for years to come, and accentuate the country’s drift toward authoritarian, sectarian rule.

The chancellor’s visit, in the midst of the refugee crisis and after Turkey’s most lethal terrorist attack in decades, was intended to win the Turkish president’s support for a joint action plan to stem refugee flows that are undermining the EU’s internal open borders policy. Merkel’s trip followed the postponement of the European Commission’s annual report on Turkey. Insiders claim that the delay occurred for internal procedural reasons. But the draft report draws attention to Turkey’s imprisonment of writers, suppression of media outlets, and other threats to the rule of law and human rights. Publication at a delicate moment would not have helped persuade Erdoğan to work together on refugees.

Both Merkel’s visit and the delayed Commission report appear to vindicate Erdoğan’s claim that Europe’s security and stability depend on Turkey. But is the EU so panicked by the refugee influx that it is showering gifts upon an increasingly authoritarian Turkish leader? Is it setting aside its principles for realpolitik?… [Continue]

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