It is clear that good relations between Turkey and the EU have grown significantly in the last few years. However, just as Turkey wants the European Union and NATO to be safe, the EU and Nato need Turkey too.
In a few key areas, key EU allies should consider cooperating with Turkey in a more holistic way.
On the incomplete list, Turkey could take action in Syria, the Western Balkans, the Black Sea, and Afghanistan.
Increased cooperation does not mean that the EU should stop pushing Turkey for human rights and freedom of the press. At the same time, the people of Europe must acknowledge that Turkey is not its president.
Since the start of the conflict in Syria in 2011, Turkey has played a very important role – which is on the verge of collapse due to its borders with Syria.
Turkey was one of the few countries where people could have fled from the Assad regime.
The country was also one of the few countries that provided assistance to refugee camps in Syria, while foreign aid passed through Damascus and thus did not reach the areas controlled by the opposition.
Turkey began a direct intervention in Syria in 2016, after calls for a free zone were rejected by whites. Turkey’s occupation of the two northern provinces of Syria was instrumental in establishing a free zone in these areas, blocking Assad and Russian troops.
Turkey joined Russia in initiating peace talks in Astana (now Nur Sultan) in December 2016, in conjunction with Iran, in a ceasefire.
The Astana route, which continues, began without any involvement with Europe or the United States.
The fact that the EU and the US have not yet been legally involved in the Syrian peace process makes Turkey our (alone) ally at the negotiating table.
There is only one way to stop the flow of refugees, and to find a solution in Syria. For this reason, the EU needs Turkey.
Meanwhile, the European Union is losing credibility in the Western Balkan.
Although Slovenia and Croatia have already joined the EU, several EU countries are still hesitant to move forward, despite promises they have already made.
The opening of talks with North Macedonia and Albania should be a reality right now, as both countries have met the requirements of the policy.
However, the Netherlands, France, and Bulgaria have been banned by members of both countries.
As a result, we now see the political crisis begin in North Macedonia. Some countries, such as Serbia, Kosovo, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, are worsening – rather than better – on corruption, legislation, and reconciliation charts.
With its temporary expansion, the EU is losing power in many Western Balkan countries.
Because of its history, Turkey is seen in many Western Balkans as an honest broker. Turkey knows the region without the support of one side.
As tensions intensify in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as between Serbia and Kosovo, the EU may need Turkish expertise to reduce this and find solutions.
Black Sea Region
The European Union has no military power, nor military means. Since the UK’s departure from the EU, France has been the only military bloc in the bloc.
France and Turkey have been at loggerheads in conflicts such as Libya, as well as Middle Eastern politics. France, a former Armenian ally, did not appreciate Turkey’s open support for Azerbaijan and its conquest of Nagorno-Karabakh.
It’s time to dump her and move on. Turkey is an important and important part of the Black Sea region.
The most strategic partnership between the EU and Turkey is the only way to boost Russia’s expansion.
Migration is not a security issue, but a cause of security concerns.
Without the war in Syria, the rise of ISIS and the brutal explosion of the Assad regime, there would be no crisis for Syrian refugees in 2015.
If Libya had not collapsed politically in 2013, we would not have seen thousands of boats trying to reach European soil, with tens of thousands of refugees drowning in the Mediterranean Sea.
In the case of Syria and Libya, a complete collapse could have been avoided. In Syria, a no-fly zone would have saved many lives and would have changed the course of war. There would be no chaos we have seen and so there is no ISIS to take over large areas of the Syrian territory.
Libya too would have avoided violence if the political crisis in 2013 had been resolved politically.
Anyone who knew Libya saw that the train was coming and could stop it. It did not happen, largely because of international instability. We need to learn from these two wars if we are to avoid the plight of the refugees. Therefore, we need to contribute as much as we can to changing politics in Libya.
Most importantly, the EU and Turkey need to focus on new conflicts that could push people to flee their countries.
Clearly, there is Afghanistan – where Turkey is already working on defense. The second place to fight is Iraq, a country close to Turkey. There is also the Western Balkan and there is the Black Sea region.
In any dispute there may be no other option for Turkey and the EU other than cooperation. That is why it is time for the EU and Turkey to abandon the old convictions, even by learning from them, and actively seeking a better deal.
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