Europe, a continent rich in history and resources is ignoring its responsibility to help those less fortunate at a time when the world is faced with the biggest humanitarian crisis since the end of World War II.
In this respect, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Turkey after serious consultations with her EU counterparts in Brussels signals the emergence of certain common sense among the European leadership. Her visit indicates that they couldn't find a solution to the crisis without asking for Turkey's cooperation. This is why they want Turkey to be part of the solution.
Europe, which has been flooded with more than 650,000 refugees in the past six months, is confronting serious instability. Any effort to find a solution is challenged by internal EU bickering, rise of national interests over common good and huge monetary costs. Such factors also pose an existential political peril for the entire project of a united Europe. The arrival of tens of thousands of refugees is sparking the rise of right-wing movements, which is leading to xenophobia and Islamophobia. Moreover, Merkel and other moderate politicians are encountering significant backlash due to their confusing policies. Merkel was criticized in September for proposing to impose Schengen controls on its national borders. Everyone needs to be aware of the direct link between Turkey's stability and security with that of Europe.
Europe, which was captive to its biased political illusions for years while criticizing Ankara, has now decided to adhere to a realistic mindset and knock on Turkey's door. It is deeply unethical and hypocritical of Europe to approach Turkey as a real partner only when it is in trouble, while in the past its usual stance was to fabricate problems out of thin air. The EU and Turkey need to act as partners but not only when there is a crisis. Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis in 2011, Europe chose to leave Turkey alone to confront the refugee problem. In the intervening period, the Turkish public developed a huge sense of abandonment toward Europe, which manifested itself in the tensing of bilateral diplomatic ties.
Today, Turkey and EU leaders are negotiating for a fruitful partnership within the scope of four topics:
1- Turkey should once again be invited to EU leaders' summits,
2- The financial cost of refugees should be shared justly,
3- In exchange for the readmission deal desired by Europe, Turkish nationals should be extended the right to visa-free travel throughout the EU.
4- Turkey's EU membership negotiations need to progress.
Europe's affirmative response to Turkey's demands is a positive development. The fact that the stability of Turkey and EU are closely linked should be underlined. As Turkey neighbors two failed states like Iraq and Syria, Turkey's security is the EU's security. Daily Sabah hopes that the future ties between Turkey and the EU will be based on cooperation and partnership, with European leaders showing due respect to Turkey's policies and not approaching Ankara only when there is a crisis. Merkel's visit to Turkey on Sunday should be seen as a strong indication of tighter cooperation in the future, but Germany's brash change of tact based on self-interest creates some doubt. Turkey is not a country that can be summoned when there is a problem to solve. It is a country, both geographically and strategically, that should always be at the table as a partner.