Turk and German government have aligned together in the past, WWI, smart minds won’t overlook that.
Turkish-German Pact: EU Split by Merkel’s Refugee Plan
Angela Merkel has held six meetings with the Turkish government in the hopes of forging a solution to the refugee crisis. But with most of the leverage in Ankara, progress has been slow. Worse yet, Berlin’s plan has split the EU into two rival camps.
On a recent windy Saturday morning, António Rocha heads out to sea off the north end of the Greek island of Lesbos in accordance with his mission: securing the maritime border between Greece and Turkey. Rocha, a 52-year-old officer with the Portuguese coast guard, steers his ship, the Tejo, into the meter-high waves with the two 350-horsepower engines whining in protest. Rocha stands at the helm, legs spread wide for balance, and scans the sea for inflatable rafts full of refugees. “Only a lunatic would head out today,” Rocha says. Lunatics or, to be more precise, the desperate. And there are plenty of those these days.
Rocha and his three crewmembers have only been active in the area for a few weeks, patrolling on behalf of the European border protection agency Frontex, but the things they have seen in that short amount of time have already proven emotionally challenging. On one occasion, Rocha stopped a drastically overloaded inflatable raft with desperate mothers holding their babies over the gunwale so that they might be saved first.
One thing, though, that Rocha and his shipmates haven’t yet seen is a boat being turned back by the Turkish coast guard. “Sometimes they motor around the refugee rafts and tell them they should turn around,” says the Greek liaison officer onboard the Tejo. “But when nothing happens, the Turkish boats just leave.”
That isn’t good news for the German chancellor, who is heading to Brussels next Thursday to meet with her European partners and with Turkey to discuss possible solutions to the refugee crisis. Ankara is the most important building block in Angela Merkel’s strategy, which is why Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Dovutoglu has been invited to the summit of European leaders.