The unreliability of the EU for Turkey

Published 08.05.2016 23:02

The European Union is said to be in the process of lifting visas for Turkish citizens after a series of procedural discussions with Turkey. The EU gave a long list of conditions to Ankara for Turkish citizens to be able to circulate freely in the Schengen area.

Yet hours after the statement from the European Commission that permitted lifting the visa requirement for Turkish citizens, the European Parliament framed the process, declaring that Turkey has to fulfill all conditions demanded by Brussels.

As a Turkish citizen who lived in Europe for more than 11 years and who travels to Europe at least once a month, I can see that the EU's relationship with Turkish citizens is being nourished by a hatred of ‘the other' among Western societies. Sometimes by Islamophobia, sometimes by xenophobia, there is always the ground for the old continent to refuse the presence of foreigners.

Ordinary European citizens are disturbed by the visibility of the unfamiliar identity in the streets. Traditional Turkish hospitality and a desire to assist tourists that many visitors to Turkey will be sure to experience stands in stark contrast to the cold, strangers' regard greeting the uninvited guests in European countries. A sociological pathology is widely felt in these countries.

There are multi-star hotels, jewelry shops and wealthy districts of the cities - of course the wealth of a visitor changes the rules of the game.

Many EU officials believe that if the visa requirement is lifted for Turkish nationals, a wave of Turks will invade the streets of European countries. But this fear is more due to scare mongering European media than the intentions of Turkish citizens themselves.

In any case, the EU has no way other than finding a compromise with Turkey as a result of the deadlock caused by the flow of migrants. Turkey took measures to fulfill its engagements for the deal reached with the EU; to prevent the wave of migrants heading to EU countries and to admit the migrants sent by those countries, Ankara has made important efforts. Even EU officials stressed the reality that the number of migrants passing to the EU from Turkey had decreased.

Despite the fact that Turkey did its best with Brussels regarding the migration flow, Europe is dragging its feet to not complete its promises. Ignoring my current position, as a former Turkish resident of a European country, it is hard to believe that Europe will grant visa-free travel to Turkish citizens.

It is certain that Europe represents a reliability problem in Turkey. First of all, it should lift its psychological barrier to other identities before finding excuses for its unreliability. That is more important than any deal reached in real politics.

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