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A European Union commissioner has expressed “understanding” for Turkey amid ongoing demands by Brussels for Turkey to change its anti-terror law as part of the visa-free travel deal for Turkish citizens inside the EU.

Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU commissioner for migration, home affairs and citizenship, told Germany’s Tagesspiel newspaper on July 10 that there is “pressure on Turkey” in its fight against terrorism.

“We should not underestimate the fact that there is enormous pressure on the shoulders of the Turkish government in its fight against terrorism,” Avramopoulos said. Continue Reading »

Earlier this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan toured a southern province close to the Syrian border and announced a new plan to cope with the huge population of Syrian refugees in the country.

“We are going to help our Syrian friends in offering them the chance, if they want it, to acquire Turkish nationality,” he told a group of Syrian refugees in the city of Kilis. “We regard you as our brothers and sisters. You are not far from your homeland, but only from your homes and your land. … Turkey is also your homeland.” Continue Reading »

Turkey’s stalled European Union accession process is set to move forward with the opening of a new chapter on financial and budgetary provisions on June 30 as promised to Ankara in return for its cooperation on stemming the flow of refugees from Syria.  Continue Reading »

Less than 48 hours before Thursday’s historic EU referendum, it emerged EU members will meet with Ankara on June 30 to discuss a host of affairs including finance and budget. Continue Reading »

As part of the refugee deal between the European Union and Turkey, which included 3 billion euros of financial assistance over two years, money has started to flow from EU safe boxes to Turkey.  Continue Reading »

Turkey remains committed to closer ties with the European Union despite strains in the relationship, and wants to deepen a customs union to become the bloc’s third largest trade partner, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek said in an interview. Continue Reading »

Forecast

  • Turkey, putting its own political and security interests ahead of the migrant deal, will refuse to meet some of the European Union’s conditions for visa liberalization.
  • Because Brussels has few alternatives for reducing Europe’s migrant burden, it will make security concessions to Ankara to finalize the deal.
  • Turkey will use the fact that the deal is more important to Europe to gain additional political advantages from the Continent in exchange for hosting its migrants.

Analysis

As conflict throughout the Middle East and North Africa continues unabated, the influx of migrants from the war-torn region is putting more and more strain on Europe. Hoping to lighten its load, the European Union has turned to Turkey for help. According to the tentative deal struck between the two on March 18, Brussels will give Ankara an extra $3 billion in aid, accelerate its EU membership talks and ease visa restrictions for Turkish citizens by the end of June. In return, Ankara has agreed to keep migrants from passing through its borders and into the Continent and to take back any migrants who traveled to Europe after the deal’s implementation March 20. Finally, to discourage illegal immigration from Syria, the parties have worked out a system whereby the European Union will resettle one legal Syrian refugee from Turkey for each Syrian non-refugee deported from Greece.

Continue Reading »

The agreement between the European Union and Turkey remains Germany’s top priority in addressing the refugee crisis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said on May 9. Continue Reading »

Kati Piri, the rapporteur for Turkey at the European Parliament, has said she does not believe visa-free travel for Turkish citizens will be realized in the short term as Turkey will not be able to fulfill the remaining criteria by a July deadline, BBC Turkish has reported. Continue Reading »

The Turkish government has warned the European Union that it will cancel its agreements with the bloc on the migration crisis if the bloc fails to keep its word on a deal to provide visa-free travel to Turkish citizens by June. Continue Reading »

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