On 18 March 2016, the EU and Turkey agreed to a far-reaching migration control deal, under which Turkey would take back all “irregular migrants” who reached the Greek islands. The main justification for the EU-Turkey Deal is the assumption that Turkey is a safe place to which asylum-seekers and refugees can be returned. This briefing exposes this assumption as a fiction.
Despite Turkey’s broadly welcoming attitude, the large numbers of people – about 2.75 million Syrian refugees and 400,000 asylum-seekers and refugees from other countries (primarily Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran) – have inevitably placed a considerable strain both on Turkey’s new asylum system and its capacity to meet people’s basic needs. It is understandable that a new system, in a country with overwhelming numbers of asylum-seekers and refugees, would struggle.
The EU knew all of this when the deal was signed. The EU-Turkey Deal fails to meet international standards and its implementation should be halted.