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Ruminations on the EU-Turkey migrant deal

May 14th, 2016

Two conservative commentators criticize the EU for abandoning its core principles and trusting its security to Turkey. A left-wing columnist, on the other hand, hopes that the lifting of the Turkish visa requirement will strengthen democrats in Turkey without compromising the EU’s security.

The biggest winner of the EU-Turkey migrant management pact is President Erdogan, Dávid László writes in Magyar Nemzet. The conservative analyst thinks that despite the lavish 6 billion Euro subsidy from the EU and the prospect of visa free travel, Turkish citizens will pay a high price for the deal. As the control of migration depends on Turkey, President Erdogan has the upper hand and the EU can no longer demand democratic reforms in the country, László remarks. As a result, Erdogan can further entrench his power. In an aside, László claims that the EU has lost not only its pro-democracy credentials, but has entrusted its security to the hands of Erdogan. This is a direct result, he continues, of not following PM Orbán’s advice that the EU should secure its borders on its own ‘rather than commissioning Turkey to keep migrants away.’

In Magyar Demokrata, Péter Farkas Zárug finds it peculiar that the EU has abandoned its principles and is willing to lift the Turkish visa requirement despite the Turkish government’s violations of freedom of speech and other democratic rights. The conservative political scientist thinks that it is totally absurd that the EU leadership is happy to make a deal with a country that persecutes minorities, silences critical voices from the opposition and bombs NATO allies in Syria. The deal is a betrayal of the EU’s core values, Zárug contends, and calls on European intellectuals to protest against it in the event that the European Council approves it.

Népszabadság’s Gábor Miklós thinks that security fears related to Turkey’s visa free status are exaggerated. Although it cannot be ruled out that Kurdish or other radicals would have easier access to EU territory, terrorist attacks on the continent have so far been committed by EU citizens, the left-wing columnist notes. The liberalization of the visa system will favour pro-Western progressives and weaken nationalists and radicals in Turkey, Miklós hopes.

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