According to the Riigikogu’s Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Sven Mikser, EU states would be more critical of Turkey if they were not currently pressured by the migration crisis, which he found was illustrated by criticism first and foremost from Central European states who lashed out in response to amendments to the EU-Turkey deal proposed by the European Commission.
Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic all spoke critically yesterday after the European Commmission proposed changes to the EU-Turkey deal, setting stricter requirements for Turkey to meet before being granted a visa waiver. Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Péter Szijjártó, for example, claimed that from their perspective, it would be unacceptable if Georgia and Ukraine were granted visa waivers before Turkey.
According to Mikser, Estonia does not have a definite preference in the matter. “We are certainly interested in ensuring that our eastern partners are not forgotten, and that their developing closer ties with the EU continues, but in Turkey’s case we have not drawn any comparisons time-wise,” explained the committee chairman on Vikerraadio radio broadcast “Reporteritund," adding that Turkey's visa waiver did not exist in a political vacuum.
Mikser went on to say that another important topic which has already made a number of headlines was that of refugee quotas and possible sanctions which may be placed on member states who tried to ignore the principle of solidarity.
“I think that the political statements made regarding Turkey were directly related to the backlash caused in a number of Central European capitals by the Commission’s suggested amendments,” he explained.
“If you consider the various laws being implemented in Turkey with which freedom of the press is suppressed and terrorism is widely interpreted, but also at the internal struggles within the ruling AKP party, if it weren’t for the current migration crisis, European governments and parliaments would be asking a lot of very critical questions,” added Mikser.
Editor: Editor: Aili Sarapik