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The Leverage of the Gatekeeper: Power and Interdependence in the Migration Nexus between the EU and Turkey


In March 2016, the European Union and Turkey reached an agreement seeking to end the refugee flows from Turkey to Greece. This agreement is the outcome of a bargaining process in which Turkey gained considerable leverage from its position as a ‘gatekeeper’ situated between Syria and an increasingly ‘immigration-averse’ and securitised EU. More importantly, this bargaining process might have broader implications for the EU and its relations with its periphery, since Turkey has progressively reversed the asymmetries of power by demonstrating the indispensability of its continued commitment to act as gatekeeper vis-à-vis an increasingly fragmented and anxious EU.
Keywords: European Union, Turkey, migration, agreement, refugee crisis, leverage, interdependence