Amnesty slams EU-Turkey refugee deal

Amnesty International stresses out refugee rights while European Union plans on sending asylum seekers to Turkey

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

The European Union has been widely criticised by Amnesty International over refugee rights in a statement released on Saturday.

Moreover, Amnesty stated that EU leaders should prioritise asylum seekers’ rights over border protection and opposed the EU’s idea of sending the refugees to Turkey, where they will be provided with aid.

The proposal is set to be presented to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is expected to visit the country soon.

The offer will include at least 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) in aid to help the country cope with the refugee infux, which surpasses 2 million people.

In return, Turkish citizens will have to deal with less bureaucracy to get visas to EU countries. EU membership negotiations for Turkey will also be eased.

"Talks between the EU and Turkey ... risk putting the rights of refugees a distant second behind border control measures designed to prevent refugees from reaching the EU," said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International's Turkey researcher.

"The EU should be looking at ways in which it can offer safe and legal routes to refugees to reach Europe," Gardner said. "The current plan fails to offer any concrete assurances on boosting resettlement places for the neediest refugees in Turkey."

"Angela Merkel must insist that Turkey cleans up its act before treating it as a reliable partner the EU's border management," Gardner added.

Nevertheless, Erdogan criticised talk of awarding Merkel the Nobel Peace Prize for accepting refugees, pointing out that Turkey has 2.5 million refugees and "no one cares."

TRTWorld and agencies