Bargaining with the devil: Merkel and Turkey

18 October 2015 1:51 pm

German chancellor Angela Merkel has backed giving Turkey a multibillion-euro aid package to cope with refugees slow the intake of migrants flooding into Europe. As the Financial Times reports, the deal involves €3bn in fresh funds; unblocking about five chapters in Turkey’s EU membership negotiations; and visa-free access for 75m Turks to the Schengen border-free area from as soon as 2016.

Negotiations are still underway.

Merkel made it clear that the deal provided a clear role for Turkey.

“In the future we have to be stronger in burden sharing if we think of the fact that they [Turkey] have been virtually left alone in the past,” she said. “If we say Turkey has indeed spent €7bn over the past few years, then in turn, that would mean the EU also shoulders a comparable sum.”

But Turkey has extracted its price.

As part of the deal, the EU has sidelined a report that’s critical of Turkey’s record on freedom of speech. That’s despite the concerns about the authoritarian tendencies of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Delayed publication was one of Ankara’s demands in the migration negotiations.

Basically, Merkel has backed a deal bribing Turkey. And that will not solve the problem of refugees now flooding into Europe.