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.
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