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Turkey and the EU after Bundestag’s approval of 1915 Genocide

“The fact that the German Parliament approved distorted and baseless claims as genocide is a historic mistake. The German Parliament’s approval of this bill is not a decision in line with friendly relations between Turkey and Germany. This decision is null and void for Turkey,” this was the first response of Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş to the German Parliament approval on 2 June, 2016.

Is the German Parliament’s approval really ‘’null and void for Turkey’’ as stated Mr. Numan Kurtulmuş if this bill to be assessed in terms of Turkey's minimal chances of joining the EU.

Turkey first submitted its application to join the European Union in 1987, but negotiations did not begin until 2005. Since then, an array of domestic and external setbacks has ensured that progress has hardly been any quicker.

There are six arguments to define the level of contention between Turkey and the EU and one is the Turkey’s ongoing refusal to recognize the Armenian genocide of 1915 .

REFUGEES

The EU has had to rely on Turkey's co-operation as it struggles to cope with the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War. Under a deal agreed in March, one Syrian refugee from a Turkish camp will be admitted to Europe for each irregular migrant sent to Turkey from Greece.

In return, the EU has promised fresh discussions on Turkish membership and visa-free travel for Turks, as well as £2.3bn of refugee aid between now and 2018.

However, the deal – which was criticised by the United Nations as a violation of refugees' human rights – is already at risk of coming apart at the seams.

EU representatives have criticised Turkey's selection process for the exchange, claiming that Syrian doctors and engineers are being denied permission to leave in favour of severely ill or uneducated refugees.

What's more, only 200 Syrians have so far been resettled from Turkish refugee camps to Europe, far fewer than envisioned by Turkey, which is currently home to more than three million displaced people.

Nonetheless, the deal has succeeded in its goal of stemming the tide of people making the dangerous crossing over the Aegean. In April, the number of refugees arriving on Greek shores dropped by 90 per cent compared to the figures for March.

SECURITY

The rise of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has put Turkey at the centre of a conflict that has global consequences. Some European officials, including French foreign affairs minister Laurent Fabius, and their US counterparts believe allowing Turkey to become a member of the EU will create a strong ally in the fight against terrorism in the region. But critics such as Conservative MP David Davis argue the open movement laws could create a passageway both in and out of Syria for jihadists and new recruits.

EMPLOYMENT

Allowing Turkey to join would provide a fresh influx of workers for Europe. The country has a young and increasingly well-educated population and some argue the ageing EU cannot afford to block this demographic from its workforce. But at a time when many governments are under increasing pressure to reduce high levels of immigration, allowing millions more workers to cross their borders is not expected to be high on their agenda.

CULTURE

Turkey's geographic position at the crossroads between Europe and the East allows it to provide a much-needed bridge between western and Islamic worlds at a time of heightened tensions between the two. Many argue that Turkey is better equipped to mediate in the Middle East than European countries. During the 2009 crisis in Gaza, its diplomats were able to talk directly to the Hamas leadership and the country also has comparatively good relations with Israel. But leaders in a number of powerful EU nations, including Germany, are wary of allowing Turkey into the bloc, arguing that "the cultural, political and geographic differences may be too vast", reports the Wall Street Journal.

ECONOMY

The Turkish economy is growing and it is also the country across which key pipelines deliver large supplies of oil and gas from Asia. Free trade between EU countries is one of the bloc's greatest advantages and granting Turkey membership would create a whole new market for European goods. However, others point to the recent economic crisis in Greece and warn that Turkey is not yet rich enough to join, saying that taxpayers in wealthier countries would be forced to subsidise it.

ADHERENCE TO EU LAWS

Countries hoping to join the European Union are required to achieve a certain standard of democracy and human rights. Since it first applied for membership, Turkey has made some gains towards these, including abolishing the death penalty and introducing tougher laws against torture, as well as moderate reforms to help women.

However, there are growing concerns about Erdogan's widespread crackdown on media freedom and other human rights. The breakdown of a fragile ceasefire between the state and the Kurdistan Workers' Party has also led to some of the worst violence since the 1990s. Turkey's territorial claim to northern Cyprus is another ongoing bone of contention for Europe, as is its refusal to recognise the Armenian genocide of 1915.

"[Turkey] is waging war on an ethnic minority," writes Paul Mason in The Guardian. "Its riot police just stormed the offices of a major newspaper, its secret service faces allegations of arming IS, its military shot down a Russian bomber." (Quotations from Theweek.co.uk)




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Armweeklynews [03.06.2016]
Turkey and the EU after Bundestag’s approval of 1915 Genocide