In spite of raised international law concerns, the European Union(EU) and Turkey successfully brokered a deal yesterday in Brussels, Belgium, that is meant to ease Europe's embarrassing migrant crisis.
The bi-lateral deal between the EU and Turkey received the blessing of the United States(US) government as the State Department's spokesman, John Kirby, called the agreement an important step, while he praised Turkey's long-standing generosity to Syrian refugees.
The migrant deal would expel to Turkey migrants entering Europe who do not qualify for asylum status or whose applications are deemed "inadmissible". In return for Turkey's acceptance of the deportees, the EU would accept corresponding numbers of Syrian refugees from Turkey for settlement in Europe. Also the deal calls for the speeding up of copious amounts of money from the EU to Europe, visa concessions for Turks entering Europe and a fast track of discussions on Turkey's membership application into the EU.
Elated about the deal, Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called it a "historic day." He happily asserted: "We today realized that Turkey and the EU have the same destiny, the same challenges, and the same future," the Associated Press(AP) reported. Yet, Amnesty International's Europe and Central Asia Director, John Dalhuisen, warned: "The 'double-speak' this deal is cloaked in fails to hide the European Union's dogged determination to turn its back on a global refugee crisis, and willfully ignore its international obligations."
While Turkey must be commended for its unselfish long hospitality to the refugees of the Syrian war, the decision makers in Turkey have recently instituted a number authoritarian actions that question the integrity of the government as representative of a free nation to which many immigrants could be safely deported. Rights and freedom issues remain debatable in Turkey. Yet, as a strategic partner of NATO, a lot is expected from Turkey. The coming months will reveal the extent to which Turkey will remain a "safe" haven- a place as defined under International Law as being safe enough to house deported people.