Controversy of the Day

Turkey’s refugee deal with the EU is wrong on so many levels

syrian refugees turkey

There are over 2.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkey. (© European Union 2016 - European Parliament/Flickr)

Turkey offered the European Union to take back all refugees who had crossed into Europe from Turkey.

In return, the EU will fast-track talks for Turkey to be considered an EU nation and quicker visa-free travel. The deal was spearheaded by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

The EU also said for every Syrian returned to Turkey, they would resettle a Syrian already living there. All of these measures are to stop the influx of refugees, and with many countries closing their borders, there's a bottleneck in some areas.

Naturally, there was a pushback against this proposal with Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, questioning the legality of the deal:

“As a first reaction I am deeply concerned about any arrangement that would involve the blanket return of anyone from one country to another, without spelling out the refugee protection safeguards under international law.”

Grandi said asylum seekers being sent back to Turkey can only be returned if there's a guarantee they would not be sent back to Syria (or whichever country they had fled from). The EU's commitment to resettle 20,000 refugees was already weak, and now they are trying to expel other refugees. This might actually be a violation of the European convention on human rights.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU president, said this deal doesn't violate human rights, as countries could refuse to consider refugee claims if there was a safe place to send them back to, and Turkey is a “safe country.”

The proposed deal was welcomed by all 28 EU countries, but Amnesty International called the plan “alarmingly short-sighted and inhumane” as Turkey has not been super nice to their own Syrian refugees:

"Turkey has forcibly returned refugees to Syria, and many refugees in the country live in desperate conditions without adequate housing."

The message is clear: refugees fleeing war-torn countries aren't being welcomed in Europe any longer.

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Turkey’s refugee deal with the EU is wrong on so many levels

Anugya Chitransh

Anugya is originally from New Delhi, India. She studied journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in New York, graduating with a master's in international reporting. She plans to travel one day to all the places she reads about. She likes reading fiction, pop music, and going to the beach, but absolutely hates anyone mangling or shortening her name (which is quite common). She binge watches Korean dramas and anime series. She's a freelance writer and has produced content that has appeared in NBC, The Times of India, Time Out Delhi, and other publications.

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