Turkey and EU must work on priorities, Pierini says
The civil war in Syria and the bilateral trade between Turkey and the European Union compel both sides to work together, Marc Pierini, former EU Ambassador to Turkey, wrote at Carnegie Europe.
Pierini listed three priorities:
- Customs Union brought mutual benefits, but an enhanced customs union that Ankara expects requires structural reforms on the Turkish side, such as competition policy, trade union law and public procurement. Erdoğan’s calling “Nazi remnants” insult to various European peoples and Turkey’s jailing of EU citizens “under spurious charges and without documented indictments” are not helping, Pierini noted.
- Counter-terrorism: As documented by the BBC, the Raqqa battle raises an important question about the fate of the Islamic State (IS) combatants: How their threat could be eliminated, should they choose to bring their fight into Europe? Pierini acknowledged Turkey’s complaints about how European countries are dealing with the Kurdish armed group PKK, but suggest a better cooperation between EU and Turkish police and intelligence services against IS, which is a common threat for both.
- Syrian refugees: Pierini remarked that the March 2016 deal, despite the criticisms for its illegal and immoral essence, is working in the field, with the €3 billion EU fund is being speedily put into good use, as noted by Turkish officials. Yet, Turkish leadership is bashing the EU’s humanitarian efforts in every possible occasion for domestic politics, Pierini observed.
None of this will be easy, Pierini said, but:
Despite a deteriorating relationship, Brussels and Ankara will have to find a way to work together.