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Is the EU really ready to commit to Turkey?

Author:
Cengiz Çandar

The longstanding relationship between Turkey and the European Union has been turned on its head. At least for now, Turkey appears to hold the power.

For a long time, Turkey seemed desperate in its courtship of the EU, while the latter was happy to keep its distance, reluctant to commit to the largely Muslim nation. Now, believing it faces an existential threat from the flow of Syrian war refugees, the EU seems eager to please.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — who is increasingly displaying authoritarian, even dictatorial, tendencies — was quick to grasp that the EU is no longer dealing from a position of strength. Erdogan feels, perhaps not wrongly, the time has come when Europe needs Turkey more than Turkey needs Europe.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is spearheading the efforts of a desperate Europe to stem the flow of refugees. Erdogan and Merkel are odd partners, but not only did she rush to Turkey to be seated in gilded chairs, she picked European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker of Luxembourg for the job of appeasing Erdogan. European Council President Donald Tusk of Poland is also on board, eager to get a deal from Turkey.

Merkel hails the tentative deal between Ankara and Brussels as a breakthrough. Yet the EU is suffering in disarray while it awaits the final decision, which is expected at the EU summit scheduled for March 17-18.

The article's full-text is available here.

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