The Newsmakers: Turkey’s EU Visa Deal and Australia’s Refugees

a step closer to Europe as the EU prepares to scrap visas for Turks we’re looking at the other impacts of the deal also on today’s program backlash against Australia’s immigration policy as more than 700 asylum seekers held offshore launched a legal bit to be transferred to Australia and in picture this painting the town red macedonia self-declared color revolution returns to the capital hello and welcome to the news makers with me imran garza the European Commission has recommended that Turks be given visa-free travel in Europe a key part of a refugee deal between Turkey and the European Union it had appeared in doubt with European leaders warning Turkey it had to meet a series of EU requirements before it got the visa waiver for now the deal has been conditionally approved but the European Parliament still needs to vote on it and one of the architects of the deal Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has announced his departure to maintain party stability a newsmaker then is the refugee deal as we ask if it’s bringing turkey closer to joining the EU or setting it on a course for collision it’s a deal forged in crisis designed to stop refugees coming to the EU and Turkey has said it will only stop the flow of people if Turks get visa-free travel to Europe’s passport-free Schengen zone terry keenan group appeal in all honesty agent on da foz de al rupa billion in Turkey TRG walterboro le docteur dada a new name new hoses Eric Abidal nashmar Sunday video gear may see David Icke their visa mafia tarnish muscle and inshallah hazaaron are you each individual machine EU officials have given that qualified approval but it still faces a number of obstacles and an end of June deadline won’t definitely be met Turkey has waited a long time for this and soon the wait for an EU visa could finally end the European Commission has now recommended visa-free travel to the Schengen zone it says turkeys met most of the required 72 benchmarks but not yet all of them over the last week’s Turkey has made impressive progress there are still work to be done as a matter of urgency but if turkey sustains the progress made and continues at the st. pace they can meet the remaining benchmarks five benchmarks still need to be met and they’re in sensitive areas they include passing measures to prevent corruption joining the e use police agency Europol working with the EU on judicial matters updating data protection laws and changing some aspects of anti-terror laws turkey is also expected to continue taking back people denied Asylum in Europe and to crack down on people smugglers since the refugee deal was signed in March the number of people arriving on Greek islands has dramatically reduced but some in Europe fear a new influx of Turkish migration not so sake turkeys diplomats there is no rush that will come to the EU so they don’t they should not have any fear in fact there will be travelers coming with a lot of money to spend and hope hopefully they’ll help the economy of the year the deal is by no means complete it still needs to be approved by the European Parliament and EU member states emit davit olu a key architect of the visa plan has just announced he’s stepping down as prime minister and that too might raise further doubts over whether the refugee deal and visa liberalisation will definitely go ahead Duncan Crawford the newsmakers well joining me in studio to discuss the latest developments in Turkish pursuit to join the European Union is cheatham nash secretary-general of the Economic Development Foundation also joining us is Deutsche Welle Beirut correspondent Martin J and in Brussels is the director of the European neighborhood council Samuel Dover e Vesta bite all of you thank you very much for joining us let me start with you Martin J do you do you believe that the European Commission is doing this happily or begrudgingly I think I think there’s an agenda there from the very beginning to save its own neck you have to remember

that right now the European Union as it is at a crisis point in terms of credibility not only with member states but also people around Europe many people are asking ourselves what is the point of the European Union when in fact even the very basis of it free movement of people is now looking as though it’s falling apart the Schengen Agreement for example seems to be am coming away at the seams so I think there is a deal there and the deal is very much for the European Commission to save its own neck at a very difficult time when the credibility is at an all-time low jedem Nash do you believe that the deal will pass yes I think so because this deal is part of the refugee deal between Turkey and European Union and stemming the flow of migrants to the EU is one of the priorities at the moment especially for the protection of the Schengen area since turkey also demands that a visa liberalization enters into force in return for its cooperation in the refugee deal I think it will pass although maybe there may be some problems still at the end of the day I think it will pass Samuel chillum nos says that the refugee deal hinges on this which raises the stakes and this is why it’s so important do you believe that the the entire refugee deal hinges on this I mean it is part of the deal I mean visa liberalisation was seen as a as a tit-for-tat move on behalf of the european commission and the turkish government i mean i think in terms of the development of visa liberalisation turkeys done a pretty reasonable job I think they’ve probably been working around the clock since March and only recently we saw the European Commission report stating that they’ve actually done a very good job in terms of closing all the different articles that they had to finish harmonizing with the a key community ere I think it’s reasonably positive Samuel Brussels still have human rights freedom of speech and corruption worries that’s why there’s some opposition will the doubters be satisfied with where things are come June do you really believe that and I think in terms of human rights and democracy these are issues that Turkey has had for some time they’ve had quite a lot of criticism from the european commission but at the same time I mean it’s only through engagement with Turkey that you then improve the situation Martin J the European Commission is not in a position I think in my view to talk about human rights and to make those kind of aspersions or judgment calls if you go back to two thousand and six and two thousand five when Romania and Bulgaria for example were lining up strong European Union the argument then was that these countries have appalling human rights records they have judiciary’s completely run by mafia and corruption is almost in industrial quantity that some of them are even considering exporting it now the argument in Brussels at that time because i was in brussels covering the european union for a number of British newspapers at the time the argument was well would bring these countries in and then when they get in then would be able to reform them will be able to reform some of these huge huge problems such as corruption and so the that doesn’t the argument i just heard doesn’t really stand up I think you need to be a bit more pragmatic about it the European Union doesn’t really care to be honest about human rights freedom of speech I mean you can only you only got to spend a few years in Brussels to see that so I don’t think that’s really on the agenda when we talk about Turkey let me ask to them Nash is the visa deal or the visa-free deal just the appetizer and are we going to see turkeys European Union accession are you convinced of that I’m not yet convinced although we have seen an acceleration of the process we have seen a new chapter opened and now a new chapter will be opened in june so this is a better than no thing but still we have major blockages on the accession process which are mainly tied to the cyprus issue so maybe we will have to wait if there is a successful conclusion of the Cyprus talks then it will make a much more positive impact on the accession process but still I think turkey and the European Union came closer because this is a very major area of cooperation the refugee deal and also the visa issue so it has I think it created a new atmosphere which is linked to a group of trust and cooperation in the relation so that is important so maybe although we do not see it now in the future if also Turkey and has some reforms or conclude some reforms in the political sphere then it may also have a positive impact on the accession prospects but not as yet let me pivot a little bit ago back to Samuel here we’ve just had just about an hour and a half as we speak to digest the news that Prime Minister Ahmet

Davutoglu will be stepping down now this was his baby he was the face of this deal in the negotiations with the Europeans we saw him with Angela Merkel will the deal be affected and how has this gone down so far in Brussels is there a buzz about this do they feel as if the deal will be affected I mean I think everyone is moderately concerned by leadership change in Turkey when so much is at stake that goes without saying at the same time you also have to remember that leadership changes occur everywhere their normal part of any political system and the only thing we can hope for is that someone credible and with legitimate understanding of the European Union comes in place let me just quickly get back to what we spoke about before though I think it’s quite important to remember that in terms of engagement with Turkey I mean what we saw throughout the lost maybe since 2007 until now has been a slow down in the accession process there’s been a lot of concern from European countries there’s been a lot of disassociation they weren’t so interested but things are changing quite dramatically Germany a country that hasn’t had much of a foreign policy is slowly realizing the potential of Turkey in realistic terms and I think and I think the engagement of Turkey something we’re going to see a lot more of let’s ask the Deutsche Welle correspondent is that an accurate explanation of the German position right now I think I think he’s probably on the money yeah I think there is a realization in Germany now that turkey is not quite the threat in inverted commas that it perhaps was when when I was in Brussels in two thousand and the president of Turkey turned up and was treated like a superstar in the European Parliament we have helicopters in the air and motorcades and it was an extraordinary moment of the starter’s pistol to accession but you also gotta look at other elements going on here it’s not any Germany it won’t be the European Commission the European Commission doesn’t have the right even to offer accession to Turkey and doesn’t even of the the right to to to sign it off when it finally happens that will happen with member states that will happen with the giants of Europe Britain France and Germany at the moment as things stand who needs whom more turkey or the European Union yes I think it’s mutual i mean and the EU needs turkey because i mean it has exists initial crisis because of the refugee issue link to the Schengen area the protection of the Shangguan borders so I think it needed turkey more but turkey also has a more maybe fundamental need for the European Union especially after the disturbances started in this neighborhood especially in the Middle East in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East I think it has seen that its European connection is very important it has to stay part of the west and it cannot engage in any adventures in a sneer neighborhood so for its democracy and also for its economy it needs the European Union so I think and turkeys may be a need for the European Union is more comprehensive and II use need is linked to the solution of his problems so I think there is a mutual need now and the conjuncture has also shown that they I mean this happened simultaneously and its crystallized within the perspective of the refugee crisis okay just about enough time to scoop up some final thoughts from Martin and Samuel let me ask you the same question than that start with you Martin who needs who more oh no question and from my perspective on the European Union needs turkey much more than turkey needs the European Union I mean there you know there is this euphoria about joining the European Union but European Union let’s not forget is a trading bloc which doesn’t have any economic growth compared to other trading box around the world and it with the way things are looking now we don’t even know if it will be around the European Union where turkey will have to sign up to thousands of directives which will affect its industry will affect foreign investment would it affect so many things i think the Turks shouldn’t be asking themselves that question now what I would argue is is turkey turks should be asking what do we get out of european union membership I mean the dream ticket which you’re a skeptics in Britain and perhaps in some Scandinavian countries would say is why not stick with this visa arrangement and forget about accession and get the best deal that you can possibly get for for turkey without signing up to the whole deal interesting point Samuel final thoughts please yeah I mean final thoughts on this are pretty straightforward I think the European Union needs Turkey as much as turkey needs a European Union perhaps a little bit more at the end of the day there is very little to do in a world that’s dominated by big trade bloc’s with increasing in security on our borders

things like terrorism there are only common strategies for these kind of things there’s a reason for why you have a whole school of political thought called transnationalism that that’s pretty much the reason to to kind of deal with these issues that can be dealt nationally so most of the things that you see in national politics today are due to kind of domestic elections and so on but if you take a purely rational choice perspective of course turkey do you need each other there’s no doubt about it okay samuel martin and she damn it’s been a great pleasure thank you very much for joining us stealth cam on the news makers a new challenge to Australia’s offshore detention centers and in picture this Macedonian protesters stay out all night over a corruption scandal a boat carrying asylum seekers has reached a remote Australian territory the first such arrival in nearly two years Australia has a tough immigration policy sending all asylum seekers intercepted at sea to offshore detention centres it says it needs to be strict to deter people from making the dangerous journey but critics say the policy is inhumane the newsmaker surreal any reports it is fundamentally wrong to condemn these people to a life in limbo we are not going to allow people to drown at sea again the people smugglers will not prevail it is a policy that is hurting people breaking people that is exactly what it is designed to do it’s one of the most contentious issues in Australian politics it’s Australian policy to house asylum seekers who enter the country illegally by both in offshore detention centers even if they are found to be refugees the government does not allow them to settle in Australia human rights groups say the policy is barbaric but according to polls most Australians support at least part of the policy Australia’s tough stance on migration is not new John Howard’s Conservative government introduced the so-called Pacific Solution in 2001 the aim was to stop asylum seekers crossing by boat from Indonesia the government then opened three offshore camps one in Nauru one on Christmas Island and another in Manus Island Papua New Guinea at the time this policy was popular with voters when Labour leader Kevin Rudd won the federal election in 2007 he largely dismantled the program but his successor Julia Gillard quickly backtracked why would you get on a boat hey Amani risky line if the outcome was you ended up back in the regional processing centre and when labour lost power to the Conservatives in 2013 Tony Abbott only hard in the policy the australian government says the policy is working and desert see remain low still it’s dogged by controversy in court cases this is a policy in free fall an asylum seeker has been murdered in custody while two others have set themselves on fire within days of each other what we wrestling with as a nation is not a legal question it’s a moral question protests have broken out across the country against mandatory detention specifically that of children now papua new guinea Supreme Court has ruled that the Manus Island detention center is in breach of the country’s constitution and it could be forced to close and now action advocates or those in regional processing countries take will cause the government to deviate from its course all this is building up just two months away from a federal election in Australia where for the past 15 years migration policy has been the make-or-break issue sureya Lenny the newsmakers Nance Reyes with me in the studio for more analysis of the story saraya as you mentioned the polls this policy is controversial but it’s still popular in Australia why one of the reasons is to do with according to analysts that well Australians Australia is an island it’s not like Europe where you have migration coming and going and this free movement of people so there is a apparently this island kind of mentality where the borders should always be secure and they are very

privileged kind of people and a privilege kind of nation and therefore those who are allowed in should be a select few people this is the general thinking according to a lot of analysts and according to a lot of poles of the people and something that you see very much at election time it’s something that we saw with the introduction of the Pacific Solution in 2001 keep in mind that came after September 11 in a very heightened polarized atmosphere in which the government was very much using this kind of atmosphere and two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which Australia participated effectively to to rally people behind this idea that they must get tougher on immigration specifically illegal migration and what the government refers to as boat people now we’re seeing Australian employees at these detention centres are banned from from speaking to the media when we have seen images come out of Madison and Nauru we’ve seen some horrific images from the detention centres there’s the self-immolations with all of that are we seeing pushback from within Australia now it’s a very good question whenever there are these issues all these incidents that actually do get reported on in say the self-immolations for example for example in the murder of the young asylum seeker not that long ago and the conviction of two men over that death we do see more discourse within the community and it really is though at a more of a community level rather than at a policymaking level or a higher level so there is this discourse amongst the Australian population and questioning whether or not this is right however the polls don’t necessarily reflect this kind of discourse or discussion just yet perhaps it’s going to take some time to catch up because as you mentioned the majority of Australians still support offshore detention and also turning back boats that arrived illegally into Australian territorial waters now finally you sort of looking ahead and looking at at some of the things that are happening right now there’s that legal bit from those hundreds of people Manus Island is on Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea supreme court ruled the detention center they’re illegal there’s a spanish firm that bought a majority stake in both the detention centers they don’t want to continue running these centers so what’s going to happen then do we know what the australian government’s policy is going to be when when those things sort of come to fruition well the question or the answer I suppose is a not really they have a couple of options so if they closed a Manus Island in Papua New Guinea which looks very likely the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea has already basically said this is going to happen the constitute the court has already ruled it unconstitutional and illegal Australia still has Nauru and Christmas Island as offshore detention centers so the theory is going to be sending the 700 to 800 people who are in Manus Island at the moment to these other centers now Naru is probably the most controversial it’s what Human Rights Watch calls the conditions they’re toxic dangerous for basically anybody who would be sent there let alone children and women for example and also they also have processing centers on the mainland but if the government does that and sends people to the mainland are effectively going against their own policy and it’s a policy that not only the conservative government holds but the opposition holds and they’re two months out from an election so a change of policy now would be probably a little bit controversial but at the same time they might may not actually have much of a choice interesting times ahead ok Surya it was good getting a deeper dive into the story with you thanks for that thank you in today’s picture this anti-government protesters are back on the streets of Macedonia repeating their demand for the president to step down let’s take a look you you you me

today’s news maker has been the refugee deal as we asked if it’s bringing turkey closer to joining the European Union although visa-free travel is possibly the most significant step so far Turkish part towards the European community it’s raised a number of issues and the biggest hurdle may be ahead as the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers must approve this visa waiver they maintain they will not do so unless turkey meets all of the e use criteria it’s a difficult time for all those involved and the entire refugee deal will be at risk unless these differences are overcome and without the deal turkish hopes of joining the EU will take a step back again you’ve been watching this edition of the news makers with me imran Garza as always thanks for watching bye bye