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Czech News in English » Opinion » Právo: Turkey's upper hand over EU not as evident as some believe

Právo: Turkey’s upper hand over EU not as evident as some believe

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Prague, April 27 (CTK) – Critics say the EU-Turkey migrant readmission deal enables Ankara to blackmail the EU, but in fact the situation is not so unambiguous and Turkey probably would not breach the deal even if it failed to achieve visa-free relations with the EU, Jiri Pehe writes in daily Pravo yesterday.
The readmission agreement has been criticised by human rights watchdogs who say Turkey violates human rights at home, and that the deal violates the rights of refugees.
Promoters of “realpolitik,” for their part, argue that the agreement is disadvantageous for the EU because Turkey not only demands a generous remuneration for its cooperation but can even blackmail the EU, Pehe writes.
Some say the blackmail has already started because Turkey threatens to reopen the barrier for migrants unless the EU lifts visas for Turks by June, Pehe writes.
However, Turkey would probably shun breaching its deal with the EU even if the visas were not lifted. The billions of euros the EU promised to Ankara to secure an adequate care for refugees is not a small sum for Turkey, where two million refugees are staying, Pehe writes.
Last year, the EU accepted one million refugees, one million fewer than the number accepted by Turkey, whose population is six times smaller and the economy weaker than the EU’s, but still it came to the brink of a political collapse, Pehe writes.
The Turks urgently need financial support therefore, he writes.
Even more important than economic help is the fact that the migrant routes across the Balkans have been actually blocked now, Pehe continues.
As a retaliatory step, Turkey could again give the green light to people-smuggling gangs. However, the demand for them would quickly drop in a situation where the migrants have nowhere to continue from Greece, Pehe writes.
Even now, their interest in the Balkans route has obviously been declining, he writes.
Many object that the people-smugglers will find other ways to reach Europe. However, any other route that the Greek one requires far higher costs and risk on the part of migrants, Pehe writes.
Moreover, the EU has learnt a lesson from the migrant wave last year. It has been forming joint border guards and asylum policy. In addition, the individual countries have been gradually sealing further routes, such as the one from Italy to Austria, apart from the Balkans one, Pehe writes.
In other words, Turkey will not want to abrogate its cooperation deal with the EU, he says.
If the deal persists, it will not mean a total catastrophe in terms of human rights either, he continues.
Up to now, the EU has been reached from Turkey mainly by those who could afford to pay the smuggler gangs. The Turkey-EU deal gives a chance to the people who would be not only duly checked before being transferred to Europe in exchange for the readmitted former type of migrants, but who also really deserve European asylum, Pehe writes.

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