The problem with paying bribes, is the request for more money never stops.
I discussed the bribe setup on October 16, in Bargaining With the Devil: Germany Bribes Turkey With Aid Package, EU Sidelines Highly Critical Report on Turkey’s Free Speech Record.
In return for holding more refugees, Turkey demanded …
- €3bn in fresh funds
- Unblocking about five chapters in Turkey’s EU membership negotiations
- Visa-free access for 78 million Turks to the Schengen border-free area by 2016
Merkel was prepared to go along with that request, but things have changed already.
Turkey’s ‘Concentration Camp’
Shortly after meeting with Merkel, Turkey upped its monetary demand and placed other demands as well.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu now says Turkey Should Not Become ‘Concentration Camp’ for Migrants.
Turkey wants fresh funding from the European Union in exchange for stopping migrants streaming to Europe but should not be expected to turn itself into a “concentration camp” for refugees, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Monday.
Both President Tayyip Erdogan and Davutoglu, whose AK Party faces a general election on Nov. 1, are keen to avoid any impression of weakness in dealing with European nations they say have only just realized Turkey’s value in the migrant crisis and are digging in their heels on the funding issue.
“We can’t accept this idea that ‘we’ve given this to Turkey, and Turkey is satisfied, so all migrants should stay in Turkey’,” Davutoglu said in an interview on Turkey’s Ahaber TV. “Nobody should expect Turkey to become a country housing all migrants, like a concentration camp.”
EU leaders at a summit in Brussels last week said they had agreed on a migration “action plan” with Ankara, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the figure of 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) had been discussed.
But a day after meeting Merkel in Istanbul, Davutoglu said that sum would have come from “IPA” funds – money already earmarked for Turkey as an EU membership candidate – and that Ankara wanted fresh cash in a sum to be reviewed each year.
“The 3 billion euro IPA fund proposal is no longer on the table as we have said we will not accept it,” Davutoglu said.
“As for fresh resources, we’re talking about a 3 billion euro amount in the first stage. But we don’t want to fixate on this because the requirements may go up, and the assessment for this would need to be done annually.”
Merkel on Sunday offered Turkey the prospect of support for faster progress on its bid to join the EU, as well as an accelerated path to visa-free travel for Turks, a priority for many in the nation of 78 million.
In return, she expected Turkey to agree more quickly to take in migrants sent back by the EU, under so-called “readmission agreements” that Davutoglu has said he would sign up to only if there is progress on liberalizing the visa regime.
Population of Germany, France, UK
If the EU admitted Turkey, it would replace Germany as the most populous country in the EU.
Islam in Turkey
Wikipedia reports …
97.8% of the population identifies as Muslim, but only 23% is really religious. Most Muslims in Turkey are Sunnis, forming about 72%, and Alevis of the Shia denomination form about 25% of the Muslim population.
Although Turkey was secularized at the official level, religion remained a strong force at the popular level. After 1950 some political leaders tried to benefit from popular attachment to religion by espousing support for programs and policies that appealed to the religiously inclined. Such efforts were opposed by most of the state elite, who believed that secularism was an essential principle of Kemalist Ideology. This disinclination to appreciate religious values and beliefs gradually led to a polarization of society. The polarization became especially evident in the 1980s as a new generation of educated but religiously motivated local leaders emerged to challenge the dominance of the secularized political elite.
By 1994 slogans promising that a return to Islam would cure economic ills and solve the problems of bureaucratic inefficiencies had enough general appeal to enable avowed religious candidates to win mayoral elections in Istanbul and Ankara, the country’s two largest cities.
What the Hell is Merkel Doing?
The Daily Beast reports Merkel Wants Turkey in the EU to Win Re-Election
This week, the German chancellor Angela Merkel visited Turkey. There she announced that she will push to accelerate Turkey’s accession to the European Union. That is pretty surprising statement from a politician who was elected ten years ago, in 2005 on the promise that Turkey would never join the EU. In May 2010 Merkel went even further and ruled out the possibility of Turkey becoming member of the European club.
The obvious reason why Merkel wants to appease Turkey is another promise she made: that Germany would host 800,000 refugees. Refugees reacted so enthusiastically that they started to come in the thousands. When even the Christian Social Union, the sister party of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union in Bavaria, started revolting, Merkel quickly realized that this might not have been the best decision to win the next election.
The subsequent plan was then to spread the refugees over the member-states of the EU. This plan too was hardly welcomed by many European countries. Four countries voted against the plan, but were forced to take their part of the quota for refugees. Everybody knows that the European plan will quickly need to be updated as refugees keep coming. It seems improbable that Merkel can push a new plan through. The only possible way to stop the flow of refugees is to convince Turkey to keep them there and stop them from traveling on to Europe.
Is That Merkel’s Plan?
If that indeed is the plan, it was not well thought out. Between 2 and 2.5 million Syrian refugees are in Turkey. And there are another 75 million Turks that just may decide they would rather be in Germany.
Merkel’s plan to take 800,000 refugees was amazingly short-sighted from the start. And the plan to pay bribes to Turkey will not work either. In fact, the bribe scheme appears to have blown sky high before it was even tried.
So it’s back to the drawing board with Merkel calling an emergency meeting hoping to “Europeanise” Border Controls as noted earlier today.
This update wraps up some loose ends while pointing out additional features of the “no-win” position that Merkel brought upon herself voluntarily.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock