Turkey’s relationship with the European Union continues to deteriorate as they threaten to cancel key migration agreements.
The comments from Turkey’s foreign minister are another low point in an ongoing quasi-diplomatic crisis between Turkey and a number of EU nations. Earlier this week, Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan accused government officials in the Netherlands and Germany of being Nazis, specifically after Turkish politicians were banned from attending Turkish political rallies inside their countries.
The rallies are an attempt to turn out the “Yes” votes among Turkish expats in Europe for a major referendum election on April 16th.
The European Union has concerns over the referendum, citing the roll-back of parliamentary powers and consolidation of authority in the hands of President Erdogan as ‘dangerous for democracy.’
In addition to that, the state of emergency Turkey has had in place since last summer’s coup attempt as enabled Erdogan to enact major purges of government employees and others accused of assisting in the plot to overthrow the government.
The agreements Turkey has threatened to renege upon are a 2013 immigration agreement and a 2016 refugee deal.
In 2013, as a sign of improving EU-Turkey relations, the two agreed that Turkey would accept illegal immigrants that had traveled through Turkey to Europe, while the EU would look at easing visa requirements for Turks to travel into Europe.
The 2016 refugee deal was intended to help handle the migrant crisis as a result of the Syrian Civil War. Turkey was supposed to take back migrants from Greece, and prevent refugees from using Turkey as a conduit into Europe.
Enthusiasm for liberalizing Turkish visas, or making it easier for Turks to travel into the EU, has waned over the last few years, largely in part to the instability seen in Erdogan’s government. With the latest row between Erdogan and European government officials, it seems unlikely that Turkey’s longtime aspirations of joining the European Union will come to fruition any time soon.
Image courtesy of Reuters.