EU External Polcy

Turkey sees ‘historic day’ in European Union accession process

Turkey sees 'historic day' in European Union accession process”

When Prime Minister David Cameron arrived in Brussels yesterday he said: “This summit matters because we need a comprehensive solution to the migrant crisis in Europe and that involves Turkey”. “Our agreement sets out a clear plan for the timely re-establishment of order at our shared frontier”, EU President Donald Tusk addressed a press conference with Davutoglu. The European Union on Sunday pledged incentives to Turkey in exchange for a clampdown on the flow of refugees and migrants into Europe as it scrambles to find ways to cope with the largest displacement crisis since World War II. EU-Turkey ties have frayed since Turkey started talks to enter in 2005, especially after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s governments strayed from EU civil rights standards and the bloc’s economic misery dimmed enthusiasm for further expansion beyond the current 28 nations. “Nor is it about adding a burden on Turkey, a country that has demonstrated its solidarity to more than two million refugees and is itself experiencing the strains from dealing with the situation but it is about addressing these challenges together”. “Let me state clearly that we do not expect anyone to guard our borders for us – that can and should only be done by Europeans”. As part of the carrot approach, the European Union promises to make haste with talks on easing visa restrictions and fast-tracking Turkey’s European Union membership. A visa-free travel in Europe for Turkish citizens will also be implemented if Turkey fulfils its commitments on migrant flows. The refugee crisis has reminded European leaders just how much Turkey – whether a bloc member or not – is a pivotal partner for the EU and a buffer state from the bedlam rocking much of the Middle East in recent years. Officials also agreed that there would be two EU-Turkey summits every year from 2016. The only barriers to Turkey joining the European Union bloc appear to be its human rights record and Cyprus, which refuses to accept its sworn enemy as a fellow member until it recognises the island’s government. Tusk added that Europe also needed to take additional steps to secure its own borders. EU President Donald Tusk is warning that any deal with Turkey at a summit in Brussels will not solve the migrant issue overnight. The EU and Turkey will “step up their active cooperation on migrants who are not in need of worldwide protection”, according to a draft of the summit conclusions obtained by Bloomberg News. The deal involves Turkish help, including through naval patrols and border checks, in handling the flow of migrants to the EU, which is expected to reach 1.5 million people this year alone, and the EU offering cash and restarting talks on EU accession. What Merkel is proposing is that we fast track Turkey as members of the EU. According to the International Organization for Migration, Turkey’s neighboring country Greece has been a gateway for 700,000 more asylum seekers, most travelling from war-torn Syria. “From today onwards, we will also, I will personally, work on a high-level dialogue with Turkey comprising all the different and sometimes hard issues we have on the table with them – all of them, none exclusions”. Sacred Heart

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