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Just 24 hours after Frans Timmermans, the European Commission vice-president who has overseen the EU’s response to the refugee crisis, confidently announced in Brussels that he was recommending Turks be granted visa-free travel to Europe, the Turkish politician who had won that very concession held a similar press conference 2,500km away to announce he was resigning.
The proximate cause of Ahmet Davutoglu’s departure as Turkey’s prime minister was his increasingly strained relationship with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the powerful president who found his hand-picked prime minister to be far less pliable than originally hoped. But EU officials are worried that Mr Davutoglu’s outreach to Europe was a contributing factor. Ankara has been buzzing about a new political blog that began attacking Mr Davutoglu earlier this week, accusing him of “collaborating with the West” and betraying Mr Erdogan by striking deals with the EU. Many believe Mr Erdogan himself gave the green light for the blog’s accusations. Turkish officials said the president was seething after Mr Davutoglu was pictured chummily touring refugee camps with Germany’s Angela Merkel and other EU leaders two weeks ago in the border city of Gaziantep. Read more