The EU's future to be determined on March 17

Published 15.03.2016 01:26

With the EU-Turkey summit to be held on March 17-18 approaching, we see that some have not grasped the main question and have started a misleading debate. The leaders at the summit will not come to a decision regarding Turkey, as the main point will be the future of the EU.

Spanish parliament, which lately brought up the topic, demonstrated an inability to understand the subject clearly. Contrary Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's decision, the outstanding majority of Spanish parliament voted against the EU's refugee action plan. Rajoy will be representing a position contrary to the majority of Spanish parliament at the negotiations to be held at the Council of Europe on March 17-18. Some 227 out of 350 deputies in Spain's parliament opposed the refugee action plan between the EU and Turkey on the grounds that it is illegal. They described the agreement as an "indicator of weakness" for the EU. What a pity. Seemingly, the majority of Spanish parliament has not realized that they took a decision that is to influence their own future.

At Portuguese parliament, the party of European Parliament Deputy Ana Gomes, a socialist who supports the outlawed PKK, also announced that it would not accept the agreement. Once social democrats used to embrace the vision of the EU, but currently they astound with their strange policies that lack any kind of vision or principle. Consequently, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said the agreement might not pass parliament. May God grant them good sense. Similar to these two examples, we have seen some opposing positions in the EU.

Let me underline that all these political shows do not constitute any impediment to the leaders' approval of the agreement at the EU-Turkey summit. They are only likely to create some additional problems in terms of the financial tasks of the countries after the agreement is approved. We will see.

The agreement between the EU and Turkey, which aims to introduce a solution to the refugee and migrant crisis, is, rightly and understandably, at the top of the agenda in the EU this week.

The EU public should take close interest in the subject and realize that some national governments and parliaments that claim to represent them are actually practicing the exact opposite. The EU public also needs to know that an opportunity to effectively fight human trafficking has been found for the first time in the EU's history. If Turkey's suggestion is accepted, human traffickers will no longer profit from refugees or be able to exploit them.

The EU has employed all kinds of military measures and facilities including battleships and helicopters to stop human traffickers, but all these efforts have been in vain. Human traffickers have always found a way to take refugees to Europe and did not care when some of them died on the way. Human traffickers have brought a large number of refugees to Greece.

Turkey suggested a resolution to the issue, which was actually supposed to be found and implemented by the EU earlier. If Turkey and the EU agree, each refugee illegally arriving in Greece from Turkey will be taken back by Turkey, and for each refugee Turkey takes back, a refugee will be able to legally migrate to the EU from Turkey. So this implementation offers one legal refugee for one illegal one.

Thanks to this, refugees would be discouraged from embarking on dangerous and illegal journeys on the Aegean Sea in return for handing all they have to human traffickers. Instead, they will have a chance to arrive in an EU country through legal means. In this way, EU countries get more time to organize and prepare themselves to better tackle the problem by professionally relocating refugees, establishing their lives in the places they are relocated to and integrating them to their new social atmosphere. Only a malevolent individual could refuse such a reasonable agreement. If the EU refuses to sign the agreement, the EU and humanity will be at a loss, not Turkey.

Parallel to the agreement, a possible doubling of the 3 billion euros of refugee aid to Ankara is also up for discussion. But the debates show that either the subject cannot be grasped or there is some ill will. The fund for refugees offered by the EU to Ankara is not financial aid. Turkey will not build roads or bridges with this money. It will only be spent for the basic needs of the

increasing number of refugees in Turkey.

Those making a great fuss in the EU and European Parliament regarding this are not aware of what they are talking about. They should be ashamed of their stance given Turkey has already spent much more than the debated amount on caring for refugees even before it started to be mentioned, and continues to voluntarily spend for refugees' needs today. In other words, no one should undermine refugee aid only to speak falsely against Turkey.

Let us jump to the other two subjects. Firstly, I would like to point out that neither Turkey's EU membership process nor the EU's visa liberalization for Turkish citizens has anything to do with refugees.

But what can be more natural for Turkey than expressing its rightful demands? Now I would like to make a point. While citizens of some EU countries are setting fire to migrant centers, throwing stones at buses carrying them and undermining European democracy by supporting far-right parties to prevent migrant arrivals, the citizens of Turkey are sharing all they have with a number of refugees that exceeds the numbers in any EU country. There have been no attacks on refugees or refugee centers. Not a single political party wants votes through racist or fascist propaganda against refugees. The people of Turkey are embracing and protecting the EU values and criteria more than many EU citizens. So is the visa requirement for Turks, who internalized EU values to such a degree, a contradiction?

While those advocating racism in the EU are making all kinds of efforts to devastate the EU from the inside through the freedom of movement, is it right to implement visa requirements and prevent free movement for Turks who embrace democracy?

Moreover, when compared to the countries that have violated all EU values and rules since several thousand refugees arrived in the EU and whose prime ministers have issued racist statements, Turkey can be seen to have already deserved full EU membership, as it fulfils the Maastricht and Copenhagen Criteria to a greater degree. The country also boasts economic stability and has played an active role in resolving the refugee crisis while many EU countries insist on creating problems in this regard, as no crisis has threatened the EU's existence to such an extent throughout its history. As a matter of fact, Turkey is currently playing an important role in protecting democracy in the EU as it is obvious that the EU and its democracy would suffer a great deal from the refugee crisis without Turkey's contribution.

Despite all this, some sti

ll argue that Turkey cannot be an EU member. I wonder whether they really know what they are talking about. What can be more natural for Turkey than wanting to accelerate its EU membership process?

The EU will determine its own future at this week's EU-Turkey summit, with Turkey or without Turkey, and the EU will be at a loss if it prefers to go on without Turkey. I am sure the EU public will not gloss over this.

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