The recent swell in refugees has forced Turkey to turn to potentially drastic measures. Turkey recently announced that it will take back any refugee that set foot on its shores, an idea that critics were quick to jump on.
Rights groups claimed that the proposal was “unrealistic” and was not “well-thought-out.” Filippo Grandi of United Nations High Commission for Refugees expressed his concerns about any proposal that would involve the “blanket return” of refugees.
Human Rights Watch’s Judith Sunderland reiterated Grandi’s concerns, stating that she thinks that “we’re about as close to rock bottom as we’ve ever been in what has been a year and a half of scrambling by EU leaders to face up to an influx of asylum seekers and migrants.”
According to Amnesty International, the plan to send migrants back to Turkey was dehumanizing and inhumane, and by no means a solution to the growing refugee problem.
“EU and Turkish leaders have today sunk to a new low, effectively horse trading away the rights and dignity of some of the world’s most vulnerable people,” Amnesty said in a statement on March 8.
Despite the concern of critics, Turkey proceeded to let in migrants the following day.
However, Turkey’s proposal came with several provisions: The European Union would provide the money to accommodate for the flood of refugees as longs as Turkey accepts an equal number of Syrians into the country.
This addition was dubbed the “one-for-one” requirement. This “one-for-one” condition aimed to destroy any smuggling networks by punishing the activity, sending those who participate back to their home countries. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey’s position would “discourage illegal migration” and “help people who want to come to Europe through encouraging legal migration in a disciplined and regular manner.”
However, it remains somewhat unclear how Turkey will carry out their bold proposal. But President Donald Tusk of the European Council said he would “work out the details” of the “bold” proposals in the coming weeks. German Chancellor Angela Merkel echoed the president’s sentiments saying that “breakthrough” could end a “vicious cycle” of illegal migration.
The EU recognized the potential logistic issues, and promised that there would be no immediate solution. However, they said that there would be substantial progress in the near future.
EU leaders are strongly backing Greece “in this difficult moment” and pledge “to help manage” the situation, promising to ensure “large scale and fast-track returns” to Turkey.