Erdogan’s Blackmail threats, the death penalty, a press takeover, a judicial purge, and Erdogan’s jailing of political opponents finally tipped the scale for Austria, Luxembourg, and the EU enlargement commissioner.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey threatened to “open the gates” to Europe for millions of Syrian refugees as he lashed out at Brussels over growing criticism of his crackdown on opponents.
Mr Erdogan made the comments shortly before the European Commission castigated his administration on Wednesday for purging more than 100,000 soldiers, judges, civil servants and teachers from their posts since a failed coup in July. The war of words comes amid pressure from some EU countries to suspend talks with Ankara over Turkish membership.
Publishing a report into the state of Turkey’s long-stalled EU accession bid, Johannes Hahn, the EU enlargement commissioner, said Brussels was gravely concerned by the “degradation in the rule of law and democracy” since the attempted putsch.
But Mr Erdogan suggested to a group of Turkish business leaders that European leaders were afraid to halt the country’s accession talks because that could lead to a fresh influx of migrants.
“They say unabashedly and shamelessly that the EU should review its negotiations with Turkey. You are late, go and review them as soon as you can. But don’t just review them — go and make your final decision,” Mr Erdogan said.
“You know those 3m refugees in Turkey? They say there is a problem.” he added.
“What if the negotiations end and they open the gates, where would we put those 3m refugees? That is their worry. That is why they cannot come to the end point.”
But Turkey has accepted no more than a few hundred refugees as talks stalled over Mr Erdogan’s refusal to bring antiterrorism laws closer to European standards. An October deadline he set for the introduction of visa-free travel expired without a breakthrough.
Fresh tension between the EU and Mr Erdogan comes as accession talks are also threatened by the Turkish leader’s proposal to restore the death penalty, which was removed from Turkish law more than a decade ago to support its application for EU membership.
Brussels officials say a restoration of the death penalty would halt accession talks, although Mr Hahn said any decision on whether Turkey should remain an EU candidate country was for member states to make.
Most want to keep the talks going, but Austria has pushed for talks to be suspended while Luxembourg’s foreign minister has called for sanctions against Turkey, saying the purge evokes memories of the Nazi era.
Blackmail Rule Number One
Don’t make deals with blackmailers.
There is no rule number two. That’s all you need to know.
Angela Merkel knew full well she was dealing with a blackmailer, but she made a deal anyway, without consultation, for political expediency.
I rather doubt she survives this mess.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock