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European Commission and Council leaders to visit Turkey


European Commission and Council leaders to visit Turkey

Photo: AFP

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan today.

This meeting follows a two-day summit in March where Brussels and Ankara agreed to strengthen cooperation on trade and the refugee crisis in a “phased, proportionate and reversable” manner. European political groups and NGOs are hesitant to normalise relations with Ankara out of concern that Erdogan is “dismantling human rights protections and democratic norms.”

Regardless of domestic human rights issues in Turkey, von der Leyen and Michel recognise that Ankara is in a powerful negotiating position. The European leaders are facing backlash over a botched vaccine rollout worsened by the complicated nature of European politics and understand that a new surge in migrants from Turkey would irreparably damage public trust and lead to further support for extremist right-wing political groups. Knowing this, Erdogan will seize the opportunity to demand further policy and trade concessions and greater access to EU markets as well as further monetary compensation, and should expect his demands from Brussels to be met with little real resistance for the time being.

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