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The Migration Paradox and EU-Turkey Relations


Since the beginning of the Arab uprisings in 2011 and as a result of growing instability in the region, migration transit through Turkey has become an increasingly pressing issue in Europe. The transit of migrants placed Turkey in a buffer position between the Middle East and Europe, and it soon assumed the role of guardian of the Schengen area, “protecting” it from irregular migration. This, combined with the exponential growth of irregular migration flows – soon dubbed the “migrant crisis” – resulted in migration management becoming a key to the ostensible rapprochement between Turkey and the EU. However, as a result of many paradoxes, migration can also hamper Turkey-EU relations, as is already becoming obvious as relations took a turn for the worse since the summer of 2016.