Under the terms of the deal, the E.U. will provide three billion euros, or $3.2 billion dollars, in aid for the approximately 2.2 million Syrian refugees in Turkey. In addition, Turkish citizens could be allowed to travel visa-free in Europe as early as October 2016. And talks on Turkey potentially joining the European Union will be restarted.
But will it hold? The money certainly will—as Walter Russell Mead wrote on Wednesday, Erdogan knew the Europeans were desperate and took full advantage.
But don’t be so sure about the rest. The EU is happy to talk about accession, but the idea that anyone will agree to it—in the age of Erdogan, in the age of the dual crises of both Europe and the Islamic world—seems highly unlikely. Then, there’s the visa-free travel issue. Right now, Turks who want to visit Europe must apply (and pay for) visas at consulates. You can see why Turkey, which has a large middle class and a land border with Europe, would be keen to change this.
Unfortunately, Europeans will today be especially conscious of the need to screen visitors from Turkey. The complicated history of Turkey’s tolerance for ISIS in its early stages and security concerns will both certainly be factors inviting heightened European scrutiny (particularly given, as WRM has pointed out, that Turkey cannot entirely control its on border with Syria). But there’s also the recent moment when Turkish soccer fans booed and chanted “Allahu Akbar” through a moment of silence for the Paris victims:
We’re sure the French won’t forget. And for so this and many other reasons, we wouldn’t count on those visa-waivers coming into place. However, the Eurocrats will, as ever, be happy to talk. . .