EU and Turkey finalizes deal to return migrants fleeing to Europe

According to reports from a number of major news outlets, such as the BBC, CNN, Reuters, and the Associated Press, the controversial Turkey-EU Migrant Plan has been finalized the European Union and the Turkish Government.

The plan allows for migrants arriving in Greece from Turkey to be sent back if their asylum plea is rejected. The European Union, if the plan garners enough support of the 28 EU leaders, would help implement this plan by aiding the resettlement of the migrants from Turkey. Additionally, Turkey and the EU have simultaneously reached an agreement in which Turkey will receive 6 billlion dollars and another opportunity to join the EU.The agreement, however, remains an unlikely contingency considering the response given to the German newspaper Handelsblatt by the European Union Commission’s President Jean-Claude Juncker two days before the deal was finalized. In response to question about whether or not Turkey would be ready to join the EU in given time, Juncker said that “Turkey is currently not ready for accession. I think that won’t be the case in 10 years either.”

Defending the controversial plan, Turkish President  Ahmet Davutoglu said, “For us, the . . . refugee issue is not an issue of bargaining but an issue of values, all humanitarian values as well as European values” (BBC).

The plan has raised multiple ethical questions about migrant resettlement. At the center of this controversy is the prevalent issue on refugee acceptance that almost every major country is grappling with at the moment. Amnesty International, a human-rights group, has blasted the deal as immoral, pointing out that “Guarantees to scrupulously respect international law are incompatible with the touted return to Turkey of all irregular migrants. Turkey is not a safe country for refugees and migrants, and any return process predicated on it being so will be flawed, illegal and immoral” (Reuters).

In regards to the legality of the issue, leaders on both sides have promised that the deal will become more feasible with the promise of a full hearing for asylum for each migrant (BBC). However, Turkey is resisting attempts to fully commit to subjecting the migrants under the proper protection of international law, which is worrisome considering how President Ankara is resisting even the simplest attempts to subjugate the migrants to due protection of basic law (Financial Times).

Part of the reason for why President Ankara might push back against those attempts could be because of the difficult task of accomplishing that task in Turkey. Turkey is not by any accounts a particularly safe region to live in currently, especially with recent inflammations in that region concerning public safety. A provision to allow the migrants to receive the benefits of being under international law would be at the very best, extremely difficult to accomplish in Turkey’s current scenario.

Other issues arise concerning the direct feasibility of relocating such a high amount of migrants. However, the European Union Commission’s President Jean-Claude Juncker has stated in response that “[the EU] [expects] to reach this number [of resettled migrants] because member states at this meeting and previous meetings have promised to step up their efforts.”

Seeing as the plan has not been officially adopted yet having just been finalized recently,s it must still be ratified by the remaining 28 EU leaders. Despite strong opposition to the deal, it remains highly likely that the deal will be approved in due time, since the deal was properly negotiated by both the European Union and the state of Turkey.

At the very least, the plan sets a precedent for immigration into Europe for some time. Since the massacres in Paris and Brussels, Europe has been ever more on edge in regards to immigration. With the recent plan set forth by both sides, Europe has essentially set a stance in regards to immigration for the subsequent years to come.