The failed coup in Turkey and the ensuing crackdown have created new tensions in the EU-Turkey relationship. As the EU has voiced concerns over human rights in Turkey, Turkish officials have threatened to stop implementing the deal Turkey signed last March to take back migrants who had crossed into Greece.
CNN reports that Yet the deal as such had very little to do with this. Returns to Turkey are proceeding at a very slow pace. The Greek state is overwhelmed, and the promised assistance from the EU is too small to allow individual hearings for migrants who claimed asylum to be handled speedily. Resettlement also proceeds very slowly.
Why then does the EU appear worried about the collapse of its deal with Turkey?
Throughout the crisis, the EU has had to juggle multiple, sometimes conflicting, imperatives. It has had to both live up to its humanitarian values and to respond to calls to stem uncontrolled flows of people, while maintaining the integrity of the Schengen system of free movement between its member states.
The EU-Turkey relationship has undoubtedly entered a difficult period. But the refugee issue is just part of the broader canvas of Turkey’s relations with the West that encompasses Syria, jihadism, and relations with players such as Russia and Iran.
For the EU, the refugee crisis is now in a new phase: attention has shifted to the challenges of integration, co-existence with Islam, and radicalization. This is a much more complicated and long-term agenda than managing population flows. / Read more at CNN. Photo Credit: AlJazeera