EU needs Turkey to cope with terror and refugee crisis, presidential adviser says

SENA ALKAN @senaalkan
ISTANBUL
Published 22.11.2015 22:27

In a panel organized by the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) on Friday to discuss the future of Turkish-EU relations, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's chief adviser Saadet Oruç said with the crisis EU countries are facing, EU-Turkish relations have taken a new turn and they will develop in the near future.

Noting that she preferred to be optimistic, Oruç said that while coping with the current terror and refugee crisis, the EU needs Turkey's cooperation in order to increase intelligence and security against terrorist transit to the EU and to decrease Islamophobia in the EU countries after the latest terrorist attacks.

"In the negotiations between the EU and Turkey, the EU asked Turkey to prevent a refugee influx into EU countries while Turkey demanded opening new EU chapters. Turkey also demanded burden-sharing of the financial cost of the refugee crisis," Oruç said. A diplomatic source who spoke to Daily Sabah after the G20 summit said at the end of the meeting that Ankara principally agreed with the EU refugee action plan and the EU assured that it would accelerate accession negotiations by opening new chapters. The EU refugee action plan offers 3 billion euros to Ankara in return for systematizing refugee flows to the EU. According to the plan, Ankara will use the EU's financial support for refugees and the registration of refugees and EU countries will accept a certain number of refugees each year. The source also said that Turkey and the EU will hold a refugee summit in Brussels on Nov. 29 at which time the EU refugee action plan is expected to be sealed. Regarding Turkey's EU negotiation process, the EU will hold an intergovernmental meeting in December to open Chapter 17 on economic and monetary policies. Chapter 22, which covers regional policy and coordination of structural instruments, was the last chapter opened in November 2013. The opening of a new chapter following a two-year hiatus is considered a sign that accession talks are getting back on track.

İrfan Kaya Ülger, an academic and EU affairs expert, said that after the hiatus in opening chapters, the EU membership process no longer excites Turkish citizen. "There are consensus disputes in EU countries when it comes to Turkey's membership," Ülger added.

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