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The EU-Turkey Deal One Year On: A Delicate Balancing Act


Now in its sixth year, the war in Syria has triggered the largest humanitarian and refugee crisis of our time. For most refugees and migrants, Turkey is the main transit country to reach Europe, where Syrian refugees hope for a better future. However, this journey has been hampered as several European countries closed their borders following the arrival of an unprecedented number of migrants and asylum seekers in 2015. In response, a deal was struck with Turkey to stem the migrant flow to Europe in exchange for some concessions. By outsourcing the management of migration flows to Turkey, the EU is failing to take its fair share of responsibility for refugee protection. Furthermore, as a result of the political situation in Turkey and the unmet promises under the deal, relations between Turkey and the EU have touched their lowest point since the start of accession negotiations in 2005. While survival of the deal is of critical importance as the EU needs Turkey’s assistance in curbing migration flows and Turkey is keen on revitalising its accession negotiations, the deal has exposed serious flaws that need to be addressed and must not be replicated with other countries.
Keywords: Migration, Syrian refugees, EU, Turkey, EU-Turkey deal