The USD 6.7 billion deal between Brussels and Ankara is falling off the rails. As one country after another slammed the gates shut on the million or so people fleeing the civil war in Syria, governments in Europe came under increasing pressure to ‘do something’ about the millions of people seeking safety from warfare.
The solution was criticised from the beginning. Some said that it violated human rights while others pointed out that Turkey was not safe for refugees. Turkey was already host to about a million safety seekers but agreed to take back people who had left Turkey and become stuck in Greece.
To achieve Turkey’s cooperation, the government in Brussels agreed to pay Turkey nearly seven billion dollars and to accept one Turk for every Syrian accepted back from Greece. This became known as the 1:1 plan. The plan is not working.
Refugees who agreed to return to Turkey have had a cruel and possibly deadly joke played on them. The German news outlet, Der Spiegel, recently reported the plight of a young, pregnant, married woman who agreed to go back to Turkey as she was blocked from joining her husband in London. This woman taught French before the civil war. When her boat landed in Turkey, she was immediately incarcerated in a squalid detention camp on the Syrian border.
The prison camp prohibits entry to journalists, aid organizations and attorneys. The young woman has been denied medical attention and access to attorney help. This violates the agreement. Others who have fled fighting have been deported to Syria and Afghanistan. These two countries are definitely not safe.
President Erdogan has recently tightened his grip on power. He has indicated that he will make the rules about who will be put forward to leave the prison camps for European countries. And it is becoming evident that there is a preponderance of serious medical cases and those will very poor education being allowed to leave. Some refugees already approved for exit have had their papers cancelled when authorities discovered that they were professionals.
Today the policy was made clear. This is a violation of the agreement.
Turkey has now officially informed the UNHCR that Syrian academics and their families are no longer permitted to leave the country by way of the 1:1 mechanism. Der Spiegel
I don’t have the answers to this humanitarian crisis. I suggest one way to help finance the costs to decently house people fleeing warfare could be to tax at 100% arms and munitions being sold to foreign countries. Simply put, if France arms dealers sell a billion dollars’ worth of weaponry to Libya, they would have to contribute an equal amount of money to refugee support.
The news corporation Al Jazeera has kept up ongoing publicity about their employees but that has failed to budge the Egyptian power brokers. Australian Peter Greste was released and deported in February of this year. Greste still has the Egyptian court sentence hanging over him.
February saw Fahmy and Mohamed released on bail. Fahmy carried dual Egyptian/Canadian citizenship. He renounced his Egyptian citizenship under the advice that it would facilitate his deportation as well. It was to no avail.
The latest postponement will mark the tenth time that their liberty has been denied.
There is speculation as to why they are still being held without verdict. One reason may be the visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Egypt. Talks were held concerning security in the Middle East region between Kerry and Sisi. Kerry is known to have lectured the foreign minister on the subject of human rights. In the end the fight against terrorists in the region trumped and pledges of friendship and military aid were made.
A second reason that has been floated is that no disruptive news is to be allowed to spoil the party attendant on the opening of the newly expanded Suez Canal.
Meanwhile two award winning journalist remain trapped in Egypt as the promise of a new and more democratic Egypt fades as repression grows.
The Washington Post
He later recanted his confession and was subsequently repatriated to an Alberta prison with an eight year sentence.
His appeal cites a U.S. court ruling declaring retroactive war-crimes laws unconstitutional. The United States made it a war crime for enemy combatants to engage in battle with U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, but that was several years after Mr. Khadr’s capture. Globe and Mail
Khadr’s sentence expires October 2018. Currently he is being held in a minimum security prison. He will remain in prison at least until May 5th when bail conditions will be announced.
Khadr, now 28, is a Canadian citizen. His mother and sister survive as well as a disabled brother. His father was a fund raiser for Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. His parents can be described as toxic and his sister has been vociferous in her support for terrorism. Khadr at age 14 was introduced to bomb making by his father.
The Globe and Mail
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