Judy Asks: Will Turkey Help Europe on Refugees?
A selection of experts answer a new question from Judy Dempsey on the foreign and security policy challenges shaping Europe’s role in the world.
Turkey will help, but only within limits set by its own interests and its willingness and ability to take some costly steps. It is very clear that Europe cannot address the refugee crisis without an effective partnership with Ankara. This will not be easy. Turks now have substantial expectations about what the EU is prepared to offer—money, of course, but also progress on EU-Turkey relations writ large.
Can Europe deliver? On the funding side, probably yes. Real movement on Ankara’s EU membership bid will be much harder to deliver. Turkey’s incentives in the crisis are not unlike those of many EU members: to keep the migrants moving north and west.
Indeed, Turkey’s problem of refugee absorption is already severe. Containing the refugee flow will require Turkey to close down two well-established transnational trafficking operations. On the Aegean coast, the web of criminal activity will be difficult to root out, and local officials may be reluctant to act. On Turkey’s Middle Eastern borders, this challenge exists alongside a more significant war economy that makes effective border control elusive. It is hardly surprising that so far, the flow of refugees and asylum seekers from Turkey has not abated.