Taking the EU-Turkey Deal to Court?

The EU-Turkey Statement of 18 March 2016, also known as “the deal” or EU-Turkey deal, has been one of the most controversial policy steps taken by the EU in recent years. As such, it has also been the subject of a debate in the Verfassungsblog between two eminent scholars: Prof. James Hathaway and Prof. Kay Hailbronner. In the aftermath of the deal, intergovernmental organizations as well as human rights NGOs have issued reports on why Turkey is not a “safe third country”, and why the deal should not serve as a blueprint in negotiating similar deals with other third countries. A recently published study in the VU Migration Law Series clearly demonstrates the gravity of the situation of those who have been returned from Greece to Turkey, especially those of non-Syrian origin. Arbitrarily detained with no access to a lawyer or information, and with no possibility to apply for international protection, many face a serious risk of deportation to their countries of origin.

The deal was made public via a press release of 18 March 2016 under the title “EU-Turkey Statement” (Statement). Some of the most important commitments agreed upon were the return of all new irregular migrants from Greece to Turkey as of 20 March 2016 and the implementation of the “one for one” scheme under which for every Syrian readmitted to Turkey, one Syrian from Turkey would be relocated to the EU. Some of the other points mentioned in the Statement were upgrading the Customs Union (CU), the acceleration of the implementation of the visa liberalization Roadmap as well as Turkey’s accession process. As part of the deal, the EU also agreed to mobilize an additional €3 billion for the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey by the end of 2018.

The deal raises many interesting legal and political issues ...

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