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The Turkish jigger

Turkish FlagSnow@Tr(B2) Russian and Turkish bombardments continue in northern Syria. But, invariably, the former arouse condemnations from Europeans, which fuse immediately. While the latter arouse a silence, barely embarrassed.

Embarrassment in European capitals

This Wednesday, the eve of the European summit, the gap is striking. Questioned by journalists, a senior European diplomat confided that “ for some (European) leaders, the Russian bombardments (1) in Syria are something to worry about. Because it contributes to the flow of refugees ". Oddly, no comment on the Turkish bombings (1) in the Kurdish areas. The explanation can be summed up in a single word: Europe needs Turkey like… tea needs water.

Our Turkish friend received at the Austrian café

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu is normally (2) due to make an official visit to Brussels this Thursday (February 18) received with all honors: bilateral meeting with the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk and with the Head of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, before a multilateral meeting organized at the Austrian representation, with the leaders of nine countries (including French President François Hollande) around the question of refugees.

Do not talk about annoying subjects

The exchange of questions and answers between the press and the spokespersons of the European Commission at the ritual noon point is such a moment. Questioned by our colleague from the Europe agency, the spokesperson for the High Representative of the EU, Federica Mogherini, could only recognize that “ there had been no contact between the European Diplomatic Service and the Turkish authorities since the Munich discussion ". As for the chief spokesperson for the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, Margaritis Schimas, tickled by the journalists, he quickly dismissed the subject, emphasizing that the main issue in the discussions between his leader and the Turkish leader was not was not about foreign policy issues. One crisis at a time...

An Ankara – Brussels axis

The slogan is the same in all European capitals, from Prague to Berlin, via Paris, Rome or Brussels: the axis of European policy today passes through Ankara, which in fact becomes the most important ally valuable information of the moment on the refugee crisis. It should therefore not be surprising that the various European officials do not want to comment in any way on the few military actions carried out in the Syrian Kurdish zone by their Turkish friend. And it doesn't matter if the Kurds, normally the ground allies of the Americans and the French in their fight against Daesh, suffer on the ground. It's the war…

Objective: stem the flow of refugees

Stemming the flow - Stemming the flow in good French as declared by a French diplomat - has in fact become the primary concern of European leaders. The Europeans have already promised Turkey a package of 3 billion euros. Which, in itself, is not enormous to accommodate more than 2 million refugees today (tomorrow 3 million or more). They promised to reopen accession negotiations – which doesn't cost much either, because no one says when they will be closed. But Turkey must now get its hands dirty on refugees: basically open its borders in Syria, feed and give work on its soil to asylum seekers... and keep them and close its borders on the European side.

Conclusion: the Turks can continue to gently bomb the Kurdish areas in Syria as long as they do not get “pinched” by the Russian air fighter. Which would then be another topic of discussion... a little more serious.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(1) The first (Russian) take place mainly by aviation, the second (Turkish) take place by artillery. The Turks no longer risk sending planes into Syrian skies.

(2) Maj – A meeting which has been called into question or postponed, after theattack in Ankara against a vehicle carrying soldiers on Wednesday.

(photo credit: Turkish MoD)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).