The new deal with the European Union is the quid pro quo that Turkey has been engineering for a long time, in the face of political opposition to its bid to become a member state of the EU. In exchange of stopping migrants on Turkey’s own territory, Europe will offer Turkish citizens visa liberalisation and accelerate the process allowing Turkey to join the EU.
Turkey knew that, one day, Europe would need Turkey more than Turkey would need Europe. And it’s been a long time coming: the Intergovernmental Consultations (IGC) resulted from efforts, in the early 80s, by European countries to push Turkey to stop on its territory refugees fleeing the Iranian revolution of 1979. Turkey knows it is a key player on this issue and has been waiting to be able to exercise all its influence.
Many questions remain, since Turkey will be facing the same kind of hurdles that European States are facing now. How will Turkey “stem the flow”? Will it be materially possible? Will Turkey resort to egregious human rights violations, through arresting, detaining and deporting thousands of migrants with little due process guarantees? Will we see a type of Nauru or PNG situation at the doors of Europe? How will national courts and the European courts react to such a situation?
And, ultimately, how does it make sense to make access to an economic integration union dependent on one country’s ability to reduce migratory pressures for the other members of the Union?