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Juncker warns Turkey over visas, Erdogan started sending refugee boats to Greece again

Turkey will have to reform its anti-terrorism laws or the planned visa-free deal with the EU will fall apart, EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday.

Speaking at a conference in Berlin, Juncker insisted that Ankara meet all EU 72 prerequisites before lifting short-stay travel restrictions on Turks.

“We consider that it is important for these conditions to be fulfilled. Otherwise, this deal between the EU and Turkey will not happen,” he said.

Turkey has met all but 5 of the 72 criteria. The EU commission wants Turkey to narrow the definition of its terrorism law.

“If Mr. Erdogan is pursuing a strategy of denying Turks the right to free travel to Europe then he has to answer for this to the Turkish people. This is not my problem, this will be his problem,” Juncker said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel considered to be the initiator of the EU Turkey Deal said the migrant deal still needed to be defended “despite all the difficulties involved to negotiate it”.

On his part, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that Ankara would scrap its migrant swap deal if visa waivers are not granted.

The original plan sought to lift the restrictions by the end of June but has now been pushed back to October at Erdogan’s request.

What is interesting is that the moment the disagreement between EU and Turkey over “visas vs anti-terror law” came out, boats with refugees and migrants started to land to Greece again. 107 refugees and migrants arrived on the island of Chios yesterday, however, <non> today. So, this might be a new tactic by Erdogan:

1:2 = 1 harsh statement by EU : 2 boats to Greece

The EU Turkey Deal may have dramatically decreased the number of new arrivals to Greece, but boats with refugees and migrants never really stopped.

Certainly, Turkey has a problem with terrorism. But to consider also every critic as a terrorist that too much the EU can take. And believe me: Turkey and Erdogan will not step back on this issue. They do not even want to be a full EU member because they cannot allow the EU to mingle in the national security.

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  1. Not quite. Margaritis Schinas, spokeswoman for the EC, said that visa free travel could be still possible even when Turkey does not change it anti-terrorism laws. The EP and any EU MS can block this deal but with the EP you never know and the EU Council can pull a vote on this with majority rule. But that would piss off EU MS that are against the deal.
    The real way to hurt Turkey is with economic and trade sanctions. They depend heavily on export to the EU and the import of assembly parts from the EU. Their tourism industry is already bleeding. Sure, it would hurt European business too but not as much as Turkey. But that could galvanize the masses even more in Turkey but boo hoo hoo.

    • You have no idea of what you are talking about. The liberalisation of press laws is related to anti-terrorism laws, which is why the EU is demanding more focused anti-terrorism laws. Press freedom (and individual rights) are required as part of the roadmap for Turkey’s EU Accession. The visa-free travel has been linked with Turkey making progress in fundamental areas relating to the Acquis Communautaire.
      Trade is completely separate, and is governed by the EU-Turkey Customs Agreement of 1995. This agreement was signed in the context of the 1963 Anakara Agreement whcih was a roadmap for Turkey’s accession to the EU. There is absolutely no way that trade sanctions could even be considered by the EU against Turkey. It would result ins major litigation in the CJEU and ICJ (that Turkey would easily win), massive compensation for damages (going into hundreds of billions) and a complete political humiliation for the EU.

      • Turkey has made it very clear they won’t change their anti-terrorism laws nor have liberalisation of press laws because Erdogan wants to continue silence any opposition coming from journalists and the media. It is their ‘red line’. So it ain’t gonna happen UNLESS the EU gives in. Don’t you get it?
        Regarding agreements: Agreements can be annulled. Turkey can litigate whatever it wants cause who are they going to send to collect the bill for that then? The WTO is probably a better platform for litigation than the ICJ and CJEU. But look at Russia. The EU imposed sanctions on them. Not much Russia can do about that. If the EU would really want to impose sanctions on Turkey, they can. And they will find a reason for that to make it ‘valid’ just like they did with Russia. State sponsor of terrorism, comes to mind. There is plenty of proof by now that Turkey has been sending weapons to IS.
        Agreements mean jack shit when things escalate.

        • Clearly, you understand as little about the EU as you do about other issues. I have explained to you the cost to the EU of breaking its own treaties: it’s not going to happen. The sanctions imposed on Russia did not break any treaty of accession: there is no comparison to be made.
          And as for sending money and weapons to IS, you can include Qatar and Saudi Arabia in that little problem — and formerly, the USA and UK. Quite what this has to do with stringent anti-terrorism laws I do not know. In that sense, one can claim that Turkey is more like the USA or the UK than other countries: full of right wing hypocrisy and abuse of human rights and engaging in covert military aggression for its own benefit.

          • And you obviously don’t understand power politics. Agreements last until somebody doesn’t need them anymore and think is powerful enough to put them aside. Chaimberlain had an agreement; Nazi Germany and the SU had an agreement; UNSC resolutions are put aside; in Yugoslavia (to which you are a self proclaimed expert -meh not so much) the members had agreements preventing members unilaterally leaving; etc. EU countries broke the Dublin treaty (or regulation) and suspended Schengen more or less. Again, in power politics it is about muscle. The EU in relation to Turkey doesn’t have them and they need to grow a pair.
            To the second paragraph I agree. And it relates to power politics. Remember the second Gulf war or the bombing of Yugoslavia? No UNSC endorsement there but it still happened. Cause nobody was powerful enough to prevent it. Also pretty much a violation of countries’ sovereignty. There are laws (=agreements) about that. “Humanitarian intervention” then became the claim for the interventions. That is just a phony excuse to exercise power politics. In conflicts, agreements and the rule of law get suspended because it suits somebody’s cause to do so.

          • You understand nothing of Europe. Comparing the Chamberlain attempt to arrange peace with Hitler with the EU treaties and the body of EU law is so ridiculous, that even a school student would not make this mistake.

            Indeed, the EU treaties can be abandoned. If they are, the European Union will cease to exist.

            And your other silly comments: the Dublin Convention was suspended by the European Court of Justice in 2011, in the case of Greece. This was the beginning of its demise, yet the Germans insist on trying to revive a corpse. The Schengen Agreement was not suspended: the temporary derogation clause for extreme situations has been invoked, and retained recently for another period.

            Again, comparing these two instances with a total collapse of the EU legal regime is just wrong. It is indeed possible that the EU will disintegrate; there are many idiots with silly ideas like yours, especially in eastern Europe. And if the EU collapses, then the customs union with Turkey will be irrelevant. If anything, Greece will be begging Turkey to send food to us so that we don’t starve.

          • You obviously understand nothing about the power politics, geo-politics and real politik.
            It is not about comparing anything with the EU. It is about treaties and agreements. And history is full of examples where these were made and broken just because it suited some power or wannabee power. Ancient Greece, Rome, the Middle Ages, recent history: Full of them. Am I comparing them now as well with EU treaties?
            You think you know it all so well but every time I beat you -often with your own arguments- the only way you then can respond is with Ad Hominem or insults which proves you are a bad debater.
            Again, treaties and agreements can and will be made, tolerated, respected and broken when it suits somebody’s interest. History is full of that.
            I will refrain from responding to you cause it has no purpose. I beat you all the time and then you can only respond with insults. It will save KTG a lot of work as well. You self proclaimed expert on so many things are just a fraud.

          • Giaourti Giaourtaki

            Who cares about the 2nd Gulf War as the 1st is much more important, left a million Iraqi and Iranian dead.

          • Don’t forget the 13 years sanctions which killed half a million Iraqi children to which Albright responded that we think it is worth the price. You’re right, the 1st Gulf War set everything in motion.

          • keeptalkinggreece

            this 500K Iraqi children was a pure propaganda issue since the beginning of the sanctions. trust me.

          • Fill me in. Propaganda by whom and why? 500k sounds a lot but the sanctions were crippling. Not so much for Sadam Hussein himself. Many profited from the sanctions. Even Koffi Annan’s son made a ‘killing’.

          • keeptalkinggreece

            because this number appeared in the first year of embargo and remained unchanged until the end of Saddam ie more than 10 years. Furthermore the Iraqis had no possibilities to file such records and keep such data for example for case of infant deaths in rural areas where no child would be taken to doctor or if yes when it was too late. Back then, the Iraqi regime was blaming the embargo. Fine. But they always refused to prove evidence to support their claim.

          • Giaourti Giaourtaki

            The 1st gulf war the US wasn’t involved that way, only Iran and Iraq were involved, you’re talking about Gulf-War 2 and 3, to call’em 1 and 2 is typical for the master-races of the USA and Europa

          • keeptalkinggreece

            1. Gulf War in 1990 , the other “Iran-Iraq War

          • Giaourti Giaourtaki

            Definition by the victims, do not give this encore to the invaders as for the majority of the involved, for them it’s 3 Gulf Wars, many lost family-members in all of them and this is only a compromise as in reality only the 1st was a war, both following were no war just slaughter.

          • Remember, Sadam Hussein back then was America’s friend. They didn’t even give him a hard time when he gassed the Kurds. There is this famous picture of Rumsfeld shaking his hand. Rumsfeld of course has been around since Nixon’s time. Anyway, this dirty geopolitical game started with the Dulles brothers when they overthrew a democratically elected president in Iran in 1953.
            I think Giaourti Giaourtaki is right. This was the first Gulf War and a prelude of things to come: Sectarian wars and a redrawing of the map of the ME in order to control Eurasia.

          • Giaourti Giaourtaki

            Erdogun will just use the time until October and take chances to present some real PKK, as after October they are gone again, in the mountains until April.
            War criminals belong into jail be it cowards like Obama or Merkel, as bombing enemies that have not any airborne is true fascism and slaughtering civilians like Merkel did in Kunduz or Obama with his drones that kill 18 innocent to hit 1 may be terrorist, be it Erdogun but his problem is more that his war-crimes may be happened against his orders as the forces are infiltrated by fascists.