EU – Turkey refugee deal and its outcome in 3 questions

I. What did trigger the deal?

EU was overwhelmed by the flow of smuggled refugees. Every single day 2-3 thousand refugees landed on Greek islands. This caused such a panic that 23 EU states accepted Turkey’s proposal in March. A very rare, if not a unique, consensus among the EU states. Also one that doomed to fail.

II. What was the deal? 

a) 1 Syrian refugee in Greece will be returned to Turkey. 1 Syrian asylum seeker in Turkey will be placed in a EU state.

b) €6billion from EU to Turkey for “humanitarian refugee camps”.

c) Schengen Visa exemption to the citizens of Turkey, if Turkey could amend some 70 pieces of legislation which mainly relate to human rights, freedom of expression and media, right to fair trial, minority rights etc.

III. Did the deal work?

Prerequisite was that the refugee should have been a Syrian. However, only in February 57,000 refugees arrived on Greek islands and only 52% of them was Syrian. 40% of the refugees were children. These are the over all rates, not only those in February. Obviously this prerequisite was very restrictive.

The Syrian refugee should not have applied for asylum or her application should have been rejected.  But the first thing they did was to apply and it was very hard to sort out.

Eventually, Turkey could not qualify for the waiver scheme due to its failure to meet the “human rights” standards, could not “become” a safe destination for those who escaped from death of the war and Turkey may unleash the refugees onto Europe as it officially threatened.