Turkey and EU Friction [VIDEO]

Turkey and EU Friction [VIDEO]

Turkey and EU Friction [VIDEO]

Turkey and the European Union came away from their summit this afternoon with nothing concrete accomplished. For the Europeans, there have been no answers or movement on any of their civil/human rights concerns. As for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan? 

In a post-summit press conference, he pointed out all he wants is Turkish membership in the EU. And he wants it yesterday.

“I mention that we first asked to join in 1963. We are still a candidate and we’d like things to progress quickly.”

He was a good deal more heated in comments he made prior to leaving for the summit and that rattled European cages:

TURKEY has demanded EU membership, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan increasing tensions with Brussels by warning officials ignoring Ankara would be “a big mistake”.

Turkish president  warned EU officials today he expected inclusion in talks regarding the bloc’s expansion.

Erdogan said excluding  from such talks would be a “big mistake” and demanded more support from the EU.

He said Turkey’s efforts to curb extremism should be “supported, not criticised” and also called for increased visa liberalisation for Turkish citizens in Europe.

Jean-Claude Juncker [EU President] appeared to immediately fold, conceding cutting off Turkey’s accession talks with the EU would be “simple but superficial”.

Hard as is it to visualize Europeans “folding,” well, there it is. Plus, reality was smacking them in the face with a hard, wet burqua. As much as they despise the depostic Erdogan they badly need him to keep up with his refugee interventions, whatever the cost to the EU. Every boatload his military can drag back to Turkey is one less starving, bedraggled boatload landing somewhere in an overburdened Mediterranean state. Along with revisiting the payment schedule of the 2016 migrant agreement, Turkey and Germany managed to work out an updated agreement:

All migrants and refugees arriving in Greece from this Sunday (20 March) will be returned to Turkey, under a controversial agreement hammered out over two days between the EU and Ankara at a summit in Brussels.

They have to keep stringing this guy along, because they’re desperate on the migrant front. Turkey is still the last bulwark between Europe and the madness that is the Middle East. At one time, a moderate, secular Turkey stood a good chance of finally seeing that prized EU member ring in its hand. But Erdogan’s continuing slide into strict adherence to Islamic principles and his brutal, on-going crackdown since the failed coup attempt have given the white gloved diplomats at the Hague the vapors.

Despite criticism from European governments of what many view as Erdogan’s growing authoritarianism, EU leaders left the door open to Turkey’s stalled bid for membership to the bloc, but said only he could act to remove the obstacles to accession.

“I raised all our concerns, as you know it was a long list”, European Council President Donald Tusk told reporters after the talks held in the Black Sea port city of Varna.

“If you are asking me if we achieved some solutions or compromises – my answer is: no,” he added. “Our position is clear – only progress on these issues will allow us to improve EU-Turkey relations, including the accession process”…

…Turkey shares borders with Iraq and Syria as well as influence with Russia in the Black Sea region, but the EU is still its biggest foreign investor and trading partner.

EU leaders cited these geostrategic interest as common ground for greater cooperation with Turkey, despite differences.

Turkish President Erdogan, EU President Juncker Reuters Photo

Europeans are both pissed off and squeamish about Erdogan, but hamstrung how to deal with his authoritarian act. Angela Merkel had her hands full in August’s election, and it wasn’t Russians. Erdogan “influenced” ex-pat Turks living in Germany:

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday called on Turks living in Germany not to vote for the two parties in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling grand coalition or the Greens in next month’s legislative elections, calling them “enemies of Turkey”.

Upping the stakes in an intensifying row with Berlin, Erdogan said ethnic Turks in Germany should not cast their ballots either for Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Social Democratic Party (SPD) of Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, or the Greens.

The recent Turkish military push into Afrin region of Syria two days ago was enough to get even France’s Macron on the horn:

AFRIN, Syria (Reuters) – Turkey’s military and its Syrian rebel allies have taken full control of northwest Syria’s Afrin region, a Turkish army source said on Saturday, as aid workers distributed food to people in the area.

…Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan rejected criticism of the Afrin campaign in a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday, according to a Turkish presidential source.

Among Turkey’s Western allies, France has been one of the biggest critics of the Turkish military operation, with its foreign minister saying concerns for its border security did not justify the incursion.

Unabated, the inhumane, beastly, ghastly cleansing in the purge of coup “conspirators” continues.

The UN High Commissioner on Human Rights issued a report this week detailing a “constantly deteriorating human rights situation, exacerbated by the erosion of the rule of law” including the imprisonment of moms who had just given birth on suspicion of being foes of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Since the July 15, 2016, coup attempt, Erdoğan’s government has conducted massive sweeps of perceived opponents; U.S. consulate employees have been among those arrested, as well as pastor Andrew Brunson, who faces up to 35 years in prison, and NASA scientist Serkan Gölge, who was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison. Turkish authorities accused both American citizens of having CIA links.

The UN report uncovered “interference of the executive with the work of the judiciary and curtailment of parliamentary oversight over the executive branch of Government; arbitrary mass dismissals of civil servants and private sector employees; arbitrary closure of civil society organizations, including prominent human rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and media; arbitrary detention of people arrested under state of emergency measures; the use of torture and ill-treatment during pretrial detention; restrictions of the rights to freedoms of expression and of movement; arbitrary expropriation of private property; and methods of collective punishment targeting family members of individuals suspected of offences under the state of emergency.”

By the end of 2017, according to Turkey’s official statistics, 159,506 people had been arrested in relation to Erdoğan’s post-coup emergency decrees. Some 300 journalists have been arrested for “verbal act offenses” against the Islamist regime.

But. They need this guy. And, frankly, so do we, to a lesser extent.

However, he is growing increasingly bold as he consolidates his power at home.  Alarmingly, his rhetoric – both openly and implied – is becoming ever more bombastic.

The list of demands was issued after it was revealed Turkey is considering an “Army of Islam” to attack Israel.

Turkish state’s media mouthpiece Yeni Şafak has suggested uniting with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to form a joint army to simultaneously attack Israel from all sides.

Yeni Şafak suggested: “If the member states of the OIC unite militarily, they will form the world’s largest and most comprehensive army.”

Mr Erdogan has not yet denied his support for the proposal and has on several occasions said he would like to resurrect the Ottoman Empire.

The tyrant has established military bases in Qatar and Somalia and recently reached an agreement with Sudan to acquire a Sudanese island in the Red Sea to be used as a military base.

So. How do you solve a problem named Recep Tayyip?

Don’t “fold,” for starters.

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