— EP President Tajani (@EP_President) 25 mei 2017
The EU and Erdogan are back at the table and are looking for ways to get along again. European Parliament President Antonio Tajani sat down with Erdogan yesterday at the NATO Summit, and tweeted afterwards that the meeting was: “Frank and constructive,” and that is he is now “waiting now for a positive signal from his side on the death penalty and freedom of the press.”
And he wasn’t alone. As it is reported, also French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Theresa May, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk met with Erdogan.
Afterwards, Tusk said: “We discussed the need to cooperate. I put the question of human rights in the centre of our discussions with Erdogan.” Also, a spokeswoman for the Commission said: “The EU and Turkey must and will continue to cooperate. Major issues of common interest were discussed in detail in a good and constructive atmosphere.” The leaders also pressed on the “importance to renew relations between the EU and Turkey, and in a separate way, to also enhance cooperation in fighting terrorism.”
The wave of optimism towards President Erdogan couldn’t be more removed from the supposed “all-time low” Turkish-European relations following the April 16 referendum on constitutional reform. According to Turkish sources, Erdogan even agreed with Macron on an annual bilateral trade deal up to 20 billion euros and to improve Ankara’s diplomatic ties with the EU.
It seems that the ever looming migrant deal, in which Ankara prevents migrants travelling from its territory to Europe in return for funds to aid refugees stuck in Turkey and visa-free travel to the bloc for Turkish nationals, is more important to the EU than the severe violation of human rights Erdogan is inflicting on his country.
To summarise one can only say; well done Erdogan, just continue your policies as is, and all will be fine. Don’t worry about the EU, yes they bark, but they won’t bite.