HarekAct Statement: One year after the EU-Turkey Deal

Today is the first anniversary of the signature of the EU-Turkey statement, commonly known as the EU-Turkey Deal, which aimed at stopping the arrival of asylum seekers and migrants in the EU. It was signed on 18th March 2016 as an answer to the “long summer of migration”1 in 2015, when thousands of people made use of their human right to freedom of movement and crossed from Turkey to Greece in order to continue further into Europe. The deal aims at reducing the number of migrants and refugees reaching Europe in return for certain promises to Turkey: visa-free travel for Turkish citizens, financial aid for the reception of deported migrants and accelerated EU membership talks.

Since the very beginning, the deal has been used as a political tool by European and Turkish politicians for domestic and international affairs likewise. Just this week, Turkish authorities have publicly threatened the EU to put a halt on the implementation of the deal because of the diplomatic crisis with the Netherlands and other states who banned Turkish politicians holding political rallies in their countries.2  Despite these missteps, European leaders are proud of presenting this shameful deal as a political success. Besides, in order to further fortify the borders and prevent people to access asylum in Europe, they incite other countries to sign readmission agreements with new partners and replicate the deal in other countries.3 In short, externalization cascades are contructed!

As voiced by many4, this deal is a violation of basic human rights and has devastating consequences,5 Stranded at the margins of the european migration regime, thousands of migrants and refugees are left in limbo, while we witness a proliferation of mental and physical health problems. Not only in Turkey, but also on the Greek islands and the Greek mainland, many are stuck while being exposed to abuses and rights violations under very bad conditions.

We object the EU-Turkey deal and the plans to replicate it in other countries, like Libya, Sudan and Niger. We condemn this shameful deal, which is destructing human lives and will eventually have a strong negative impact not only on migrants and refugees, but on all humankind.

HarekAct editorial team