Wednesday, March 9, 2016


Erdogan wins again.

One day after Turkey's increasingly despotic ruler took over Zaman, the only major news outlet in the country that still dared criticize his dismantling of Turkish democracy, Tusk and Merkel and crew agreed to pay big piles of euros to Erdogan so he will take back Syrian and other refugees who make the dangerous sea crossing to Greece.  Given that he previously has done nothing to stop the trafficking, and Turkish officials almost certainly are accepting bribes from the smugglers to look the other way, it's not much of a deal.

Turks also will get visa-free travel to Europe, and "accelerated" consideration for acceptance into the EU.  Europe may regret the visa agreement as large numbers of Turkish Kurds and liberals flee the country to escape Erdogan's abuses.  Previously, Turkish acceptance into the EU was conditioned on enhanced democratic institutions and a better human rights record.  Turkish blackmail over Europe's need to alleviate its refugee crisis seems to have put those on the back burner.

Why not send the pile of euros to Greece instead of Turkey?  Pay the Greeks to contain the refugees, and pay them well.  Let them build more permanent housing and provide enhanced refugee services, while employing Greeks in need of jobs and rebuilding the Greek economy.  The refugees won't be going home any time soon — not to Syria nor Iraq nor Afghanistan nor Libya nor the Horn of Africa.  Those shit shows will be with us for a long time, and accommodating fascists like Erdogan won't make things any better.

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