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EU–Turkey Migration Cooperation: From Saving the Day to Sustainable Mixed Migration Governance


The current migration cooperation framework between the EU and Turkey was devised mainly as a response to the large-scale movements of 2015–2016, and the policy crisis they provoked inside the EU. Judged not exclusively but primarily by its performance in reducing irregular crossings from Turkey to Greece, and thus by its contribution to momentarily alleviating the policy crisis in the EU, cooperation has been regarded as highly effective. Yet, the type of mixed migration that is of concern to both sides is driven by structural factors, which are likely to occasionally escalate into humanitarian crises, calling for sustainable policy and cooperation approaches that are also emergency-proof. In line with this perspective, this paper examines how the current migration cooperation between the EU and Turkey fares in terms of producing durable responses to mixed migration in the Eastern Mediterranean context, and identifies the main challenges ahead to render both the cooperation and the policy solutions it produces more sustainable.

Revised version of a paper presented at the seminar “EU-Turkey Cooperation on Migration Management: Going Beyond Ad Hoc Short-Termism”, organised in Kos on 6 May 2019 by the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), Istanbul Policy Center (IPC) and Stiftung Mercator under the Global Turkey in Europe V programme.

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