Today, on November 29, 2015, 11 years after the last summit, the leaders of the EU and Turkey are coming together. The topic of today’s negotiations is the refugees crossing into the European territory through Turkey.
According to the official figures, there are 2.2 million Syrian and nearly 300 thousand non-Syrian refugees and asylum seekers in Turkey. The other neighbours of Syria, Lebanon hosts over 1 million Syrian refugees, Jordan hosts over 600 thousand, Iraq hosts nearly 250 thousand and Egypt hosts nearly 130 thousand Syrian refugees. Apart from nearly 4.3 million registered Syrian refugees, it is estimated the neighbouring states including Turkey are also hosting many other unregistered Syrian refugees.
This year, the number of those who have crossed into Europe over the Aegean Sea has reached to 721,127; 328,130 of them were Syrian nationals. In other words, the rate of the Syrian refugees irregularly entered into Europe via Turkey is 15% of the Syrian refugee population in Turkey.
Europe just recently realised the refugee crisis in the region. Now, Europe wants Turkey to stop those crossings, to protect the Fortress Europe and keep refugees within Turkey through strict border controls and bettering the living conditions of refugees within Turkey.
Up until now, EU member states with the support of Frontex, have tried to prevent refugee’s access into the territory by constructing walls or fences, digging ditches alongside the borders or through collective push-backs at land and sea borders. The methods which violate international, European and national laws have been employed. Now, Europe wants Turkey to use similar strict and often unlawful border “protection” methods which lead to human deaths and human rights violations in order to prevent irregular passages into Europe. Europe wants earlier implementation of the EU-Turkey Readmission Agreement signed in December 2013. Europe wants to declare Turkey as a “third safe country” where refugees, asylum seekers could be returned and thus to initiate the readmission of refugees who irregularly entered into Europe via Turkey. Europe supports Turkey to increase the numbers and capacities of those detention/removal centres where those migrants and refugees who are readmitted or in irregular movement are to be detained. Europe wants to establish “hot points” or “asylum offices” within Turkey. Through those “asylum offices”, Europe wants to externalise its asylum system and plans to open its doors to only those “selected” refugees.
In return for its policing for Europe to stop refugees, Turkey wants visa liberalisation up to three months for its citizens into Europe (the Schengen region); opening up new chapters in the accession negotiations of Turkey into the EU, which will never come to a conclusion; 3 billion Euro financial support to improve the living standards of refugees in Turkey and political support for a “safe region” within Syria to keep refugees. Turkey expects the support of the EU for the implementation of strict border controls which may well contradict with international law and human rights; for increasing the numbers and capacities of readmission and removal detention centres and for strengthening its capacity to readmit and remove to the third countries.
We denounce this dirty deal over the lives of refugees. We say that no political, economical or social argument could be more precious than human lives. We call the EU and Turkish leaders to terminate this dirty deal at today’s summit, to respect human rights and human honour in all their policies and practices and to be transparent in their negotiations and in their asylum/migration policies/practices.
We also invite the EU and member states’ leaders:
-to take greater responsibility with other states in this biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War and to give up the attempts to transfer its responsibility;
– to accept many more numbers of refugees in their territories at a time when the millions are of concern; and to end up offering financial supports and/or other incentives to third countries in order to stop refugees entries into Europe.
– to open up safe and legal channels into Europe for those trying to reach to Europe.
– to stop exporting European asylum policies to third countries through “hot points” or “asylum offices”;
– to stop the implementation and export of strict border control policies which violate human rights and lead to human losses.
– to revoke the already concluded readmission agreements which aim at stopping or readmitting migrants and refugees by offering carrots like visa liberalisation, visa exemption, financial support, trade incentives to third countries including Turkey and not to negotiate new ones;
– to support the neighbouring states which host large numbers of refugees in a manner to improve employment opportunities for both local and refugee populations, to help them establish lives alongside the human rights and human honour, not to lead people to become dependent on assistance, and to ease the economical, social and political effects of refugee influx in the neighbouring countries;
– To combat against anti-refugee and xenophobic policies, political discourse and groups.
We invite the leaders of Turkey;
– to end this dirty deal over human lives
– Not give up the policies and practices which were deemed as good examples for other countries and let safe entry of refugees into Turkey;
– Not to allow or turn blind eyes to border control policies and practices that contradict with the human rights and human honour whoever the perpetrator may be; and to take effective administrative, criminal, diplomatic and political steps to investigate and punish any human rights violations of the officers of either Turkey or EU or EU member states;
– Not to accept becoming the police of Fortress Europe and import border control policies and practices that violate the human rights;
– to revise the EU-Turkey Readmission Agreement, not to link this Agreement with visa liberalisation for Turkish citizens; not to conclude any readmission agreement which may facilitate the return of third country nationals to the countries where they may face persecution;
– Not to agree to negotiate or sign a readmission agreement regarding the readmission of those who are in need of international protection;
– No to let EU hot spots of asylum offices in Turkey; not to take over the EU responsibility over refugees on the grounds of financial or political concerns;
– to abrogate the “geographical limitation” to the 1951 Convention and allow legal local integration and permanent status for non-European refugees;
– to ensure effective access of refugees and asylum seekers to all human rights particularly to work permit and education and health services;
– to combat against anti-refugee and xenophobic discourse and hate crimes
Association for Solidarity with Refugees (Mülteci-Der / Mültecilerle Dayanışma Derneği)
 http://missingmigrants.iom.int/en/mediterranean-update-27-november-2015 328.130 of them are Syrian nationals, 142.301 of them are the nationals of Afghanistan, 44.349 of Iraq 17.881 of Pakistan and 10.286 of Iran.