Turkey cannot be Europe’s 'gatekeeper' or buffer zone, urges for new understanding in Turkey-EU ties: Top boss
ISTANBULTurkey’s top business club’s head has said organization members find Turkey’s negotiations with the European Union as a point of bargaining for other issues, including the refugee issue, very odd, adding that Turkey is neither Europe’s gatekeeper nor buffer zone in the fight against the current refugee crisis, a reference to a recent New York Times article.
“We share the same interests with the European Union as well as same values and same problems. The best way for us to cope with our common problems is to see Turkey as a full EU member. A Turkey which is kept out of the EU border, at the most outer side or edge of the EU, but is called for further ties when only needed by the EU, is not an option…We have recently seen such temporary cooperation calls from the EU towards Turkey in fight against the refugee crisis. As Sinan Ülgen wrote in his New York Times article three weeks ago, Turkey cannot be EU’s gatekeeper or buffer zone against the huge refugee flow. Any process that will strengthen the physical and non-physical walls of the EU with a planned full EU member country in return of small political and economic concessions is so worrying for us,” said the head of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD), Cansen Başaran Symes, at a press meeting launching the organization’s report about negotiations for deepening the Customs Union deal between Turkey and the EU.
She said a new understanding reviving Turkey’s full membership process that considers all these concerns must be applied after Turkey’s coming elections.
“We hope the ease of these concerns must be on the negotiation table in talks with the EU,” she added.
She said Turkey’s full membership to the EU should be seen as an opportunity to reach the most efficient partnership not only technically and economically, but also democratically as well.
“We see this as Turkey’s integration process with liberal values of the transatlantic world, of which the EU is a part…In this sense, we cannot settle with any approach which reduces the required reforms to just technical requirements or an economic partnership approach, which is only based on a single market through a deepening Customs Union,” she said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged to give support to four Turkish demands that Ankara has insisted in return for agreeing to a migrant action plan with the European Union, at an Oct. 18 joint press conference with her Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoğlu.
Merkel made the trip to Turkey amid increasing pressure at home after hundreds of thousands of refugees poured into Germany over the summer.
Davutoğlu said Turkey was ready to work with Germany and the EU on the migration crisis and would take all measures to prevent human trafficking. However, Ankara is focused on four issues: The opening of negotiation chapters, visa liberalization, the 3 billion euro transfer from the EU to Turkey for migrant support and the invitation of Turkish leaders to EU summits.