Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Berlin Solution: Turkey to the Rescue?

I sat and read through a German piece on Turkey, the refugees, and a German idea.  Basically, Chancellor Merkel has talked up this EU idea....that they funnel cash and such to Turkey.....talking them into keeping all Syrian refugees safely there and there might be this open door deal where Turkey gets to enter the EU. It's hard to say if Erdogan (Turkey's chief political guy) will be willing to accept the deal.

The amount of money involved?  There is only speculation.

The problem with this idea....if you think long enough over it....is that after some refugee camp has been in existence for a year and the war still continues....how thrilled will you be to just sit there, eat three meals a day and watch TV.....waiting for the war to end?  Could you do this for five years?

I'm guessing if you posed this scenario to a hundred Syrians.....most would like to stabilize themselves and their safety in the immediate first 100 days.  After that point, people get antsy and start to look for a real future, which may not exist in Turkey for several years.  Maybe the Russians will kick butt and change the whole landscape.....maybe not.

Then the other issue which has to come up with most Germans.....for a dozen years....German intellectuals have faithfully argued that allowing Turkey into the EU would never happen because they can't reach a point of transparency or human rights.  Yeah, I watched the same political chat shows as everyone else and can remember people from both the SPD and CDU arguing over how it'd be really nice to have Turkey in the EU but there are these conditions which must be met.  Now?  Zero conditions....other than taking refugees and holding them, and the EU would even pay down some cash to make this appealing.

How desperate has the Berlin crowd become?  This might be the next big question to ask.  If the Turks say fine, agreeing they'd really like the EU application stamped first, and then say they want 8,000 Euro a year per each single refugee.....how much sweat would the Berlin folks show in explaining this to the public?  If this were a one-year deal with no EU membership.....no one would say much.  Five years?  Seven years?  Immediate membership?

I hate to suggest that Germany and the Berlin crowd have become more than desperate to fix this or resolve the future crisis before getting near the March of 2016 state elections.....but it's likely to develop like that.

Turkey in the EU?  Unlike the Greek folks with a dismal economic strategy in place....Turkey might actually be in a better situation than half the current membership of the EU.  The negative?  Well....no one is absolutely sure about the unemployment rate.  Officially, they say the current rate of unemployment is near ten-percent.  It might be more but no one is sure.  That's a fairly negative thing to say and then get status in the EU.  External debt?  It's near fifty-percent of the GDP.  Some German financial experts would stand there and shake their heads when membership is discussed.....saying it just isn't smart.

I would offer this humble observation.....once Doctor Frankenstein started upon his strategy of bringing success to his death-to-life idea....he was will to do just about anything....to include some awful stupid things with endearing consequences.  The kind of creature that the Berlin crowd envisions to be the answer and fix up their problems?  It might turn into something twice as bad as what currently exists today.  And Turkey?  Well, they have to be sitting there and wondering.....just how long would you have to honor this deal and keep the Syrians happy?  A decade?

I think if you went to Russia and said they could have EU membership if they'd take the Syrians....Putin would grin and say fine....offering to fly the Syrians free of charge as part of the deal.  Course, fat chance that the Germans would ever make that kind of deal.

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