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President Erdogan warns of new migrants wave in Europe. Turkey plans to resettle 1 million refugees in northern Syria and they need support. Turkey may reopen the route for migrants into Europe unless it receives adequate international support, President Tayyip Erdogan noted.

We will be forced to open the gates…

In a speech in Ankara, Erdogan also said Turkey has decided to create a “safe zone” in northeast Syria in partnership with the United States by the end of September. He also mentioned that Turkey is prepared to act alone if necessary.

We are saying we should form such a safe zone that we, as Turkey, can build towns here in lieu of the tent cities here. Let’s carry them to the safe zones there,
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – President of Turkey

Human Rights Watch have noted that 3m people are trapped in Idlib and UN warned of a looming humanitarian catastrophe.

Deadline for Syrians in Istanbul

At the same time Syrian migrants face expulsion from Istanbul.
Up to half a million unregistered Syrians living in Istanbul faced being expelled from Turkey’s largest city, as the government stepped up a crackdown on undocumented migrants. Last Tuesday was the deadline for all migrants living in Istanbul without permits to leave the city, or face forcible removal.

EU-Turkey joint action plan

  • Supporting the Syrians under temporary protection and their Turkish hosting communities
  • Strengthening cooperation to prevent irregular migration

On 18 March 2016, the European Council and Turkey reached an agreement aimed at stopping the flow of irregular migration via Turkey to Europe. According to the EU-Turkey Statement, all new irregular migrants and asylum seekers arriving from Turkey to the Greek islands and whose applications for asylum have been declared inadmissible should be returned to Turkey.

The agreement followed a series of meetings with Turkey since November 2015 dedicated to deepening Turkey-EU relations as well as to strengthening their cooperation on the migration crisis, with notably the EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan activated on 29 November 2015 and the 7 March 2016 EU-Turkey statement. In addition, on 15 December 2015, the Commission proposed a voluntary humanitarian admission scheme for Syrian Refugees in Turkey.

In order to break the business model of the smugglers and to offer migrants an alternative to putting their lives at risk, the EU and Turkey decided in March 2016 to work together to end the irregular migration from Turkey to the EU. For that purpose, the EU and Turkey agreed that,

  1. All new irregular migrants crossing from Turkey to the Greek islands as of 20 March 2016 will be returned to Turkey;
  2. For every Syrian being returned to Turkey from the Greek islands, another Syrian will be resettled to the EU;
  3. Turkey will take any necessary measures to prevent new sea or land routes for irregular migration opening from Turkey to the EU;
  4. Once irregular crossings between Turkey and the EU are ending or have been substantially reduced, a Voluntary Humanitarian Admission Scheme will be activated;
  5. The fulfilment of the visa liberalisation roadmap will be accelerated with a view to lifting the visa requirements for Turkish citizens at the latest by the end of June 2016. Turkey will take all the necessary steps to fulfil the remaining requirements;
  6. The EU will, in close cooperation with Turkey, further speed up the disbursement of the initially allocated €3 billion under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey. Once these resources are about to be used in full, the EU will mobilise additional funding €3 billion by the end of 2018;
  7. The EU and Turkey welcomed the ongoing work on the upgrading of the Customs Union.
  8. The accession process will be re-energised, with Chapter 33 opened during the Dutch Presidency of the Council of the European Union and preparatory work on the opening of other chapters to continue at an accelerated pace;
  9. The EU and Turkey will work to improve humanitarian conditions inside Syria.

Turkey furthermore agreed to accept the rapid return of all migrants not in need of international protection crossing from Turkey into Greece, and to take back all irregular migrants intercepted in Turkish waters. Turkey and the EU decided to continue stepping up measures against migrant smugglers and welcomed the establishment of the NATO activity on the Aegean Sea.

Moreover, the European Union has begun disbursing the 3 billion Euro of the Facility for Refugees in Turkey for concrete projects.

As of May 2019, 126 600 Asylum applications had been made. Of these, the Inquiry Commission has reviewed 70 406 and only 5 250 have led to a reinstatement, while 65 156 complaints have been rejected. There are 55 714 applications pending. The rate of processing of applications raises concerns at whether each case is being examined individually. Since there are no hearings, there is a general lack of procedural guarantees for applicants and decisions follow the basis of the written files related to the original dismissal.

With the ending of the state of emergency, Turkey has withdrawn its derogations from the European Convention on Human Rights and from the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). However, the full monitoring procedure that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe reopened in April 2017 remains in place.

Today the EU-Turkey migrant deal is under pressure!

The Turkish government is about to announce its suspension of the 2016 “EU – Turkey deal”. Turkey is also under pressure in Syria war, has problems with USA for Russian S-400 missiles and with the illegal gas drilling operations in Cypriot waters.

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