The EU-Turkey Trade Deal – Trading Refugees

At the fundamental level WTF is the EU-Turkey deal? If I understand correctly, EU countries don’t want to take in refugees because it is believed that they pose a threat to the EU countries – both economic and security. Okay. So by sending them all to Turkey what the EU is saying is, the refugees are dangerous as they pose a threat, therefore we will not take them in lest they blast bombs or kill people. But we don’t mind if they do all of those dangerous things in Turkey. So Turkey can burn as long as Europe doesn’t.

Really now?

And Turkey – what are you doing?! The country is bursting at the seams, already riddled with regular bombings and attacks, and a struggling economy, yet you’re taking in more refugees than your country can handle. For what? For a free-access travel pass for Turkish nationals and better trade deals?

 The deal promises money, an easing of visa restrictions for Turks, and a renewal of Turkey’s EU candidacy in exchange for Turkey increasing its efforts to contain refugees within its own borders. It says much about the EU’s fears of mass migration if a country tilting towards autocracy and on the brink of civil war can use the threat of a refugee influx to renew its candidacy, while in the past its efforts to democratise were rebuffed.
In reality this is going to be a vicious cycle. Many of these refugees fleeing Syria, travel via Turkey. They don’t stop at Turkey as their final destination because their goal is Europe. If they wanted to be in Turkey, they’d just stop at Turkey instead of making just a pit-stop. So now, refugees travel via Turkey to Greece, where they are intercepted and transported back to Turkey. What makes you think they’re just going to stay there? They will find a way to leave Turkey again and try to make the journey to Europe again.
Taken from ECRE Twitter profile @ecre

Having said that, I completely understand that it’s not an easy problem to solve. I don’t have a perfect solution to offer and neither will there be a perfect solution. Because perfect solutions don’t exist. In cases where near-perfect solutions don’t exist, we go for the next best solution. Is this EU-Turkey deal the next best solution? – Not by a long shot.

Needless to say, we – the collective humanity- are not handling this well. On the one hand we have evolved to the point of creating driver-less cars and artificial intelligence like Siri. On the other hand, we’re handling this crisis in the most rudimentary way possible – by putting barbed wires on border fences.


Edit on 12/04/2016
I had posted a link to this blog on Facebook and received a comment on it. I thought that is a good conversation to add on as a follow-up.
Facebook Comment –
“From what I understand, this is to deal with the ‘irregular migrants’ – Afghans and Pakistanis (3 Lakh Afghans have taken advantage of the situation and migrated via these routes) – also the EU will be sending back these so-called ‘irregular migrants’ and actually trade them for Syrians who really need help. It isn’t just a ‘send them back’ kind of a deal. Turkey wouldn’t take any more surely. Also the first batch of deportees were a few Pakistanis who took advantage of the situation – not Syrians. They’ll be exchanged for in-need Syrians.”
Read the follow up blog post here.
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