Center for Fundamental Rights

The EU-Turkey agreement is in practice unfeasible and legally controversial

With the recent EU-Turkey agreement that was concluded last Friday, the EU finally tried to break out of the helpless situation it has been in for the past one and a half years, however, its implementation is being undermined by the human rights dogmas of the past few decades. An essential, but in reality unfeasible, prerequisite of the implementation of the agreement is that Turkey intercepts all migrants on their own territory. Only this would give meaning to the text of the agreement – without it, however, the European Union will get into a legally impossible position. Namely, the sending back of migrants to Turkey conflicts exactly those international and EU norms and principles, which the international community and the European Union have developed in recent decades and implemented into their own legal systems in the name of human rights fundamentalism. For the EU to be able to return migrants to Turkey, it would be essential that the EU classifies Turkey as a safe third country, which is unlikely to succeed before the courts. In addition, the agreement states that those entitled to asylum will receive refugee status within the EU, but at the same time it also declares that Turkey will have to be considered as  “first country of asylum” – therefore, those entitled to asylum will receive asylum there. However, these two “principles” are mutually exclusive. The key to the success of the implementation of the agreement can only be – which is, however, unlikely – that Turkey does not allow migrants to get to EU territory at all and accepts every migrant intercepted on its territorial waters. From a legal point of view, however, the Center for Fundamental Rights’ long expressed view is that without changing the current legal paradigm on refugees, the problem is unsolvable: the international regulations on asylum have to be redefined going back to the Geneva Conventions.

The full analysis can be read here