This past weekend, we at Pro-Link GLOBAL watched – along with the rest of the world – the events in Turkey with much concern for the nation and its people. At the same time, we watched with a concerned eye for the potential impact on our clients.
Turkey has historically been a pivotal nation to the world, standing at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Now with the current upheaval in the Middle East and western Asia, and with Turkey poised ready to assume its place among the nations of the European Union (EU), it may never have been more pivotal.
On the issue of immigration, Turkey is currently looked to by the peoples of Asia and the Middle East as the “gateway” to Europe, while simultaneously looked to by Europe as the potential “gate-keeper” of Asia. This pivotal position has made immigration policy perhaps the most contentious issue facing Turkey’s entry into the EU.
When the EU leadership meets next week in Brussels, the issue of Turkish immigration policy will once again be in the forefront of the discussion surrounding the plan for Turkey to join the EU and eventually to enjoy visa-free immigration to its member states. The failed military coup of this past weekend is sure to add another layer of complexity to the already complicated process.
While many in the EU leadership have come out publically in support of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his democratically elected government, others in the European Parliament have criticized his civil rights record and have threatened to block immediate action on visa liberalization for Turkish citizens to the EU. Such critics are surely going to watch President Erdogan’s actions more closely now in dealing with opposition Kurdish lawmakers and the parties involved in the failed coup attempt, which include over 6,000 members of the country’s own military. The past two days have further seen hundreds of suspensions and removals of officials within Erdogan’s own government.
However, both Turkey and the EU have interests in seeing a deal for Turkish membership move forward. On the one hand, Turkey is hoping for economic aid in dealing with the more than 2.7 million Syrian refugees it is housing and for freer access to the European market to boost its growing but still fragile economy. On the other hand, EU is looking for help from Turkey in dealing with the burgeoning Asian migration into Europe, as evidenced by the over one million immigrants, primarily from Syria and Iraq, who crossed to the Greek islands from Turkey and across the open border into Germany last year.
It was previously thought visa-free travel for Turkish citizens to the EU nations could come as early as end-of-summer. However, the events of this past weekend and the ongoing daily developments are obviously changing that political landscape. While Turkey’s bid for entrance into the Union will continue to move forward, it is likely that the EU leadership next week is going to take a “wait and see” position for the time being, as events are unfolding too rapidly in Turkey for comfort.
Pro-Link GLOBAL continues to monitor the situation in Turkey. For the people of Turkey, our hopes continue to be with you for a peaceful way forward through this time of uncertainty. For our clients with business interests in Turkey, we will continue to stay on top of the impact of these unfolding events.
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