The warnings of Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the agreement with the EU for the refugees will fail in the period that follows, which means that there is a serious crisis in relations between Ankara and Brussels.
After the failed coup in Turkey on 15 July this year, Erdogan declared emergency situation in the whole country, and with that was marked and suspension of a series of rights and freedoms in Turkey, so now it is even more difficult to the people that are heads of the European Union to decide on the abolition of visas for Turkish nationals.
It accelerates the possibility of conflict on route Ankara – Brussels, because Erdogan does not feel trust of European Union leaders who not give him a support after the coup, they even condemned the mass arrests in the country. Since then, Erdogan has constantly repeated that it is possible agreement with the EU to fail or Turkey will open its doors to refugees in their travel to Western Europe.
These warnings, Turkish media describe as “battle” and recently Erdogan told the German television “RTL” that “visa liberalization and readmission are very important and noted that Europe has not fulfilled the promise”.
“We want steps to be taken simultaneously. If the abolition of visas happens, then good. If not, I’m sorry, but we will stop accepting the refugees”, said the Turkish president to the German television.
Erdogan, sate similar states on the 2nd and 8th August. His warnings are based on the agreement between the EU and Turkey reached on 20 March that Ankara has committed all refugees to return from Greece to Turkey. Part of the deal was the EU to lift visa requirements for Turkish nationals. It was announced in June, but hardly Turkey will get visa liberalization by the end of this year, or maybe even not at all.
Originally, the EU was planning to abolish Turkish visas in October 2016. The plan, which was signed on 16 December 2013 was amended, it was moved to June, and it was inserted contract refugees as a result of the efforts of the then Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
However, in the agreement were 72 conditions that Turkey must fulfill to get visa liberalization. 72 conditions, the Turkish authorities have succeeded to meet 68, but Erdogan is not willing to do the job until the end. The most important part of all conditions amendment to the Turkish law on terrorism, which must be in line with EU law.
The EU’s goal here is fairly straightforward: to abolish the legal frameworks that allow the Turkish judicial authorities to violate basic human rights and freedoms. This way, Erdogan is battling with all political opponents in Turkey, and the EU wants to ensure that the visa-free regime will encourage victims of the regime of Erdogan to request political asylum in any EU Member State.
So the EU wants to protect against a new wave of migration which will help in some way with the introduction of a visa-free regime for citizens of Turkey. Of the remaining conditions, Erdogan refuses to make amendments to the fight against corruption and protection of data of an individual.
However, we should recall that the threats by Erdogan to call off the agreement with the EU refugees started to arrive even before the coup. The agreement of 2013 with all 72 conditions was signed in Ankara, Erdogan attended to him, but in May, he said: “They put 72 conditions, that should do it well. It is a new story, these conditions did not exist earlier. Where does this now?”.
Days before the coup, pronunciation of Erdogan’s rejection of the five remaining conditions was that Turkey is in a general war against the Kurdistan Worker’s Party in July 2015. He then argued that amending the anti-terror law in the wake of the fight against the PKK would benefit the militants.
Now there are more reasons not to change these laws: They need to perform large purges against the network of supporters of Fethullah Gulen, Gulen organization that Turkish authorities declared a terrorist. After the coup, Erdogan began a relentless showdown against all people allegedly involved in trying to be forcibly overthrown. That throws away Ankara from the EU and cannot be expected that Turkey will fulfill the remaining requirements of the EU.
Meanwhile, attacks on the Turkish authorities by Gyulenist’s in state institutions and public life in general “throw” thousands of people in jail, left them without their jobs, and their property seized by the state. All this means that the EU threatens new exodus, this time composed of political refugees.
Overall, the developments after the failed military coup in Turkey, only strengthened the determination of the EU to maintain the visa restrictions while Erdogan continues to require visa liberalization threatening to open doors and sent the refugees to Western Europe. While relations between Brussels and Ankara are at this level, the more likely the eruption of another serious refugee crisis.