As previewed earlier today, moments ago the EU and Turkey reached a deal in which Europe would give Erdogan another €3 billion to be embezzled accordingly (perhaps to buy more tankers for Erdogan’s son with which to ferry ISIS oil, or to build a new annex for his palace, or just to recycle the money and purchase even more F-16s from the US), in exchange for which Turkey would promise to close its borders to millions of outpouring Syrian refugees and agree to accept deported refugees already located in Europe.
Furthermore, as part of Turkey’s long-running accession process into the EU, the republic where any journalist who disagrees with the president is promptly arrested, the European Commission has agreed to relax the visa requirements for Turkish citizens going into Schengen. Which is ironic considering Europe is selectively and actively putting up barriers to its own citizens within the customs union, and it remains to be seen if there even is a Schengen one year from now.
Meanwhile, the two Turkish journalists charged with “spying” over their reports about Ankara’s alleged arms supplies to Syrian rebels urged the EU on Saturday not to compromise on human rights and press freedom as it looks to Turkey to help stem Europe’s migrant crisis.
Writing from the Silivri prison near Istanbul, the opposition Cumhuriyet daily’s editor-in-chief Can Dundar and Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gul said they hoped the meeting would produce a lasting solution to the crisis “that has concerned and touched all our hearts.”
But they added: “We would also hope that your desire to end the crisis will not stand in the way of your sensitivity towards human rights, freedom of press and expression as fundamental values of the Western world.
“The Prime Minister of Turkey, whom you will meet this weekend, and the regime he represents are well known for policies and practices that have flouted human rights and freedom of the press,” they said.
The letter was addressed to EU leaders as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and the British Prime Minister David Cameron.
The letter and their pleas landed on deaf ears.
The terms of the deal are largely as we noted previously, with the European Union agreeing on a three-billion-euro ($3.2-billion) aid package for Syrian refugees in Turkey, EU president Donald Tusk said after a summit in Brussels on Sunday. “Our agreement sets out a clear plan for the timely re-establishment of order at our shared frontier. We will also step up our assistance to Syrian refugees in Turkey through a new refugee facility of three billion euros,” Tusk told a press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
Curiously, the EU appears to have steamrolled over at least some states’ objections as seen in the following text released by the commission, in which it says that “the preparatory work for the opening of a number of chapters without prejudice to the position of Member States. Preparatory work could subsequently begin also on further chapters.’
More from AFP:
The EU also agreed to open a new chapter in Turkey’s stalled bid for membership of the bloc in exchange for Turkey’s cooperation in reducing the flow of refugees and migrants, Tusk said.
Visa requirements for Turkish citizens visiting the EU’s passport-free Schengen area would also be relaxed by October 2016, he said. Brussels would “monitor closely at least once a month” the progress being made by Turkey, Tusk added.
Davutoglu said the deal would “re-energise” Turkey’s EU accession process, which has made little headway since it started in 2005.
“This is a historic day and a historic meeting, the first meeting of this kind since 11 years,” the Turkish premier added.
“No one can guarantee anything on the Syrian issue, we don’t know what will go on in Syria, but I can assure that Turkey will be fulfilling all the promises of the joint plan. Our purpose with the EU is to prevent new waves of refugees from Syria and to manage the existing refugee crisis,” he said.
“This three billion euros is to be spent for refugees in Turkey, it’s not for Turkey.”
Actually, the money will be embezzled within moments of being wired over by the country’s unaccountable despotic ruler, and any Turkish journalist who points this out will be immediately branded a spy traitor and charged with treason.
The full European Commission statement is below:
Meeting of heads of state or government with Turkey – EU-Turkey statement, 29/11/2015Today the Leaders of the
- Today the Leaders of the European Union met in Brussels with their Turkish counterpart. Turkey has been a candidate since 1999 and negotiating for accession since 2005.
- Turkey and the EU discussed the importance of overcoming the common challenges ahead. In line with the conclusions of the European Council of 15 October, they agreed that the accession process needs to be re-energized. They are committed to carry further their existing ties and solidarity and adopt result-oriented action to prepare their common future. They are determined to confront and surmount the existing risks and threats in a concerted manner to reinforce the European Project. Recalling the final declaration of the last G20 in Antalya, as well as the 2249 UNSC resolution, Turkey and the EU reaffirm that the fight against terrorism remains a priority.
- For this purpose it was agreed that a structured and more frequent high-level dialogue is essential to explore the vast potential of Turkey-EU relations, which has not been realised fully yet. In this framework, both sides agreed to have regular Summits twice a year, in an appropriate format. Regular summits will provide a platform to assess the development of Turkey-EU relations and discuss international issues. Regular discussions and cooperation on foreign and security policy should be enhanced including on counter-terrorism against the background of serious security challenges notably the rising threat of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. In this context, the two sides agreed to have comprehensive regular political dialogue meetings at Ministerial/High Representative/Commissioner level. These will be in addition to the regular Association Council meetings. High level dialogues should also be conducted on key thematic issues.
- Both sides welcomed the announcement to hold the Intergovernmental Conference on 14 December 2015 for opening of chapter 17. Furthermore, they noted the European Commission’s commitment to complete, in the first quarter of 2016, the preparatory work for the opening of a number of chapters without prejudice to the position of Member States. Preparatory work could subsequently begin also on further chapters.
- The EU welcomed the commitment by Turkey to accelerate the fulfilment of the Visa Roadmap benchmarks vis-à-vis all participating Member States. The European Commission will present the second progress report on the implementation by Turkey of the visa liberalisation roadmap by early March 2016. Both sides agree that the EU-Turkey readmission agreement will become fully applicable from June 2016 in order for the Commission to be able to present its third progress report in autumn 2016 with a view to completing the visa liberalisation process i.e. the lifting of visa requirements for Turkish citizens in the Schengen zone by October 2016 once the requirements of the Roadmap are met.
- The EU will provide immediate and continuous humanitarian assistance in Turkey. It will also expand significantly its overall financial support. A Refugee Facility for Turkey was established by the Commission to coordinate and streamline actions financed in order to deliver efficient and complementary support to Syrians under temporary protection and host communities in Turkey. The EU is committed to provide an initial 3 billion euro of additional resources. The need for and nature of this funding will be reviewed in the light of the developing situation. As Turkey hosts more than 2.2 million Syrians and as it has spent 8 billion US Dollars, the EU thus underlined the importance of burden-sharing within the framework of Turkey-EU cooperation. In this context, they underlined the contribution by Member State and existing EU resettlement schemes and programmes.
- Turkey and the EU have decided to activate the Joint Action Plan that had been agreed until now ad referenda on 15 October 2015, to step up their cooperation for support of Syrians under temporary protection and migration management to address the crisis created by the situation in Syria. Results must be achieved in particular in stemming the influx of irregular migrants. The EU and Turkey agreed to implement the Joint Action Plan which will bring order into migratory flows and help to stem irregular migration. As a consequence, both sides will, as agreed and with immediate effect, step up their active cooperation on migrants who are not in need of international protection, preventing travel to Turkey and the EU, ensuring the application of the established bilateral readmission provisions and swiftly returning migrants who are not in need of international protection to their countries of origin. Equally, they welcomed the intention of Turkey to adopt immediately measures to further improve the socio-economic situation of the Syrians under temporary protection. Both sides underlined their shared commitment to take decisive and swift action to enhance the fight against criminal smuggling networks.
- As stipulated in the European Council Conclusions on Enlargement of December 2014, Turkey and the EU have been working on the establishment of a High Level Economic Dialogue Mechanism which will contribute to further enhancement of economic relations and create a business platform to bring business circles together. They agreed to launch it in the first quarter of 2016.
- They welcomed the establishment of a High Level Energy Dialogue and Strategic Energy Cooperation, which had been launched in Ankara on 16 March 2015. A regular exchange of information on energy cooperation at the global and regional level serves to the benefit of both sides. They agreed to hold the second meeting of this kind in the first quarter of 2016.
- They took note of the launching of preparatory steps for upgrading the Customs Union. After completion of this preparatory work by both sides, formal negotiations could be launched towards the end of 2016.
- All these elements will have to be taken forward in parallel and monitored closely. Turkey and the EU are determined to advance together the widespread spectrum of their actual agenda to ensure that this fresh impetus yields concrete results.