ANKARA'S AWAY

Europe Still Believes in Turkish Deal

ARCHIV - Flüchtlinge kommen am 09.03.2016 in einem Schlauchboot aus der Türkei auf der griechischen Insel Lesbos in der Nähe der Hafenstadt Mitilini (Mytilini) an. Foto: Kay Nietfeld/dpa (zu dpa «Aktivisten wiegeln Flüchtlinge in Griechenland auf - neue Routen» vom 28.04.2016) +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++
Europe still hopes to go ahead with the refugee deal, and doesn't have a plan B.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The refugee deal between the European Union and Turkey, seen as key to solving the migrant crisis, is looking shaky, with Turkish president Erdogan casting progress into doubt.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • On March 20, Turkey and the European Union agreed a deal to solve the refugee crisis, with Turkey accepting illegal migrants returned from Greece.
    • In return, the E.U. promised €6 billion in aid, the eventual introduction of visa-free travel for Turkish citizens, and possible future E.U. membership for Turkey.
    • Now the E.U. is demanding reform of Turkish anti-terrorism laws. This is hard for Turkey, since the laws are the basis for current crackdowns on Kurdish activists and domestic media.
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    Audio

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The political situation in Turkey has many policymakers in the European Union deeply concerned about the long-term viability of the refugee deal agreed in March.

But neither Germany nor any of the other 27 members of the European Union are willing to discuss what might happen if the agreement fails.

“For us, there is no plan B,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is said to have remarked at a recent meeting, according to a source.

For Germany, which accepted more than 1 million refugees last year, the situation appears much the same.

Government spokesman Steffen Siebert avoided an assessment of the refuge agreement, saying only that the German government was focused on implementing the agreed measures. The European side, he said, would fulfill its obligations, “and we expect the same of our Turkish partners, of course.”

Turkey is crucial to solving the refugee crisis.

Under the March deal, the country agreed to back all migrants who cross into Greece from its soil, and that for each refugee returned from Greece, the European Union would take in one Syrian refugee directly from Turkey — a move designed to stop the illegal, hazardous migration of refugees across the Aegean Sea.

Also, the European Union promised to provide €6 billion ($6.8 billion) in aid to help accommodate refugees in Turkey, and to introduce visa-free travel to the European Union for Turkish citizens, in addition to accelerating E.U. accession talks.

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