The EU-Turkey deal: what happens to people who return to Turkey? (Sevda Tunaboylu and Jill Alpes, Forced Migration Review, 2017)


On 18th March 2016, Turkey and the European Union (EU) made a joint statement. Political leaders agreed to the return to Turkey of people who had crossed to the Greek islands through irregular channels and also agreed to prevent the arrival of new asylum seekers via sea or land – in exchange for the liberalisation of EU visa requirements for Turkish citizens, financial aid, and a resettlement programme for Syrians from Turkey to the EU (based on ‘one in, one out’). The deal has been criticised by scholars and human right organisations for undermining access to fair and efficient asylum procedures. Its ability to curb irregular immigration has also been questioned. Finally, no independent organisation has been tasked with monitoring the human rights situation of individuals who are returned under the deal.