Turkey Has More to Lose in Migrant Gamble with EU

Novinite Insider » OPINIONS | November 30, 2016, Wednesday // 14:57
Bulgaria: Turkey Has More to Lose in Migrant Gamble with EU One should distinguish between Turkish President Erdogan's statements directed to the EU and those produced for domestic consumption, Karin Bensch notes. File photo, EPA/BGNES

The EU may not be as scared by the Turkish President's threat of opening borders to let refugees into member states, a comment on a German-language website says.

For Turkey, however, such actions would bring some disadvantages, according to the author, Karin Bensch.

The Western Balkans migrant route is closed down, Bulgaria controls its own border with Turkey much better than last year, and NATO has been patrolling to bust smugglers in the Aegean Sea. Additionally, EU border agency Frontex "has more money, employees and equipment," the text published on Deutschlandfunk.de [DE] reads, in an apparent reference to Frontex's expanded mandate due to the European Border and Coast Guard launch in October.

"Also: in many EU members, Germany as well, there have been more opportunities to employ migrants since last autumn," a German MEP with the Greens, Barbara Lochbihler, is quoted as saying. She adds many countries have beefed up their border security, making it "not possible at all" to allow the uncontrolled inflow of migrants that was possible before.

"This means, should the Turkish president unilaterally end the [EU-Turkey] refugee deal, tha EU will not have such a hard time," with the exception of Greece.

"Erdogan will have no means of pressure in his hands. For him, however, [such a move] would be strategically unfavourable. For example, due to the visa free regime, which the Turkish government wants to get so quickly from the EU. Also because of possible EU membership, especially now that it is improbable in the foreseeable future."

Turkey is also economically dependent on the EU, where a vast share of its exports go, and has a customs union with the EU. Many European companies have production bases in Turkey.

"Often when Erdogan speaks, when he speaks of a Turkey fully independent from the EU, he addresses not Europe, but his supporters in his own country."

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Tags: EU-Turkey deal, refugees, migrants, FRONTEX, EU, turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan

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