Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan [official website] threatened to send a new wave of migrants to Europe following a vote to halt negotiations over European Union [official website] membership yesterday. The discussions were focused upon whether to continue negotiations with Turkey over its membership, a battle which has lasted 11 years. Erdogan threatened, [text] “[i]f you go any further [in cutting membership negotiations], these border gates will be opened. Neither I nor my people will be affected by these empty threats.” This vote is non-binding on member states, with Germany, France, and most other EU states choosing to continue membership negotiations. Both sides have much to lose if this deal falls through. The EU is Turkey’s largest trade partner, and the EU recognizes that Turkey has taken in over 3 million refugees over the past years. A German official urged both sides to stick to the migrant deal, which they stated both sides had an interest in. Erdogan has accused the EU for not taking an active role in addressing the current migrant crisis, an issue he believes Turkey has been forced to unduly shoulder.
Yesterday the vote went forward with the EU voting to freeze accession talks [JURIST report] with Turkey, which is non-binding on the EU member states. The fallout with the EU is a continuance of the aftermath Turkey has faced since crackdown after the attempted coup [JURIST report] in July. Since then the government has dismissed [JURIST report] 10,000 civil servants with links to the plotters of coup. Earlier this month the Turkish government restricted activities [JURIST report] for NGO’s and rights organizations. Also at the beginning of November the government arrested opposition leaders [JURIST report] Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, along with nine other members, accused of terror related attacks.