Turkey and the EU

The EU is having a special conference with Turkey this week in Brussels and the main reason is that Turkey has been one of the causes of the current immigration crisis in the EU.  Certainly the EU was caught unprepared for the huge wave of Muslim immigrants chiefly from Syria.  But, they were also unprepared for the lack of any real Turkish attempt to stem the flow of migrants from its territory, where they were actually reasonably safe and protected, to Greece and beyond.  Do you think such a huge flow of people could not have been prevented or at least reduced if Turkey had done anything to stop them?  Also, Muslim citizens of the EU countries have been able to transit Turkey and join IS in Syria almost without any hindrance from the Turkish security forces.  What is going on?  Is Turkey in fact aiding IS?  The short answer is “yes!”  While supposedly bombing IS in Syria, Turkey has actually been using this as an excuse for bombing its own enemies, the Kurds, including the Pesh Merga forces and the PKK, that have made gains against the Syrian regime in northern Syria adjacent to Turkey.

But, two things have caused Erdogan to change his course somewhat, although no doubt still being sympathetic with the aims of Islamic fundamentalism.  The first has been several major terrorist attacks in Turkey that have killed dozens of people and that have been claimed by IS.  The second is the pressure he is now feeling from the EU to take action to stop the free flow of migrants to Greece and the EU.  Turkey wants two things in exchange, first money, and the EU have offered Turkey 3 billion euro to help to defray the costs of keeping the migrants in Turkey.  The second is renewed and accelerated consideration of Turkey joining the EU.  There are numerous reasons why this has been delayed, including Turkey’s abominable record of mistreating its minorities, notably the Kurds, and its abysmal human rights record, including the closing of newspapers and killing of journalists. But, also many EU members are totally against allowing a majority Muslim country (with a population of 80 million) from joining the EU.  So the meeting in Brussels may not help with the million or so migrants already in Europe, but may help to stem the future flow.

There is a problem with the current migration that is quite bizarre.  The EU has recognized Syrian migrants as refugees, because of the war that is taking place in their country.  But, they have not recognized Christians as refugees who are fleeing from attacks and discrimination throughout the Muslim world, including Libya and Iraq as well as Syria.  Similarly the US State Department has issued regulations to allow Muslims from Syria to be accepted in the US as refugees, but not Christians who are being persecuted by the Muslims.   Also, migrants from other countries, including Africa and the Indian sub-continent (Pakistan and Bangladesh) are not being allowed to transit EU borders because they are designated economic migrants.  So a terrible situation is developing where thousands of migrants are being denied entry to several EU countries and they cannot return to where they came from.  They are stuck on the borders, with winter coming and no official help.


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