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Why EU-Turkey Deal -The Dark side of an Inhuman Deal

... Kenan Malik:

How do you solve a crisis? By brushing it far enough away from your gaze that you can pretend that it's no longer there? That at least appears to be the European Union approach. After months of negotiation, the EU has put together a deal with Turkey - a deal which effectively allows the EU to push the problem far enough away from its shores so that they can pretend that it's not there anymore.

Under the deal, the irregular migrants crossing from Turkey to Greece will be sent back. A "one-for-one" agreement will allow one Syrian from a Turkish refugee camp to be resettled in the EU, for every Syrian refugee returned to Turkey from Greece. For non-Syrians, the route to Europe is entirely cut off.

In return, the EU has promised to speed up plans for Turks to travel visa-free inside the Schengen area and to actually pay Ankara some of the $3.3bn that was promised in October for Turkish help in closing its borders to migrants.Turkey has reportedly asked for an extra $3.3bn, which is still under negotiation. Turkey has also demanded that concrete steps be taken to resume its accession negotiations with the EU.

Immoral aspect of the EU's policy

If the arrival in the EU of a million migrants and refugees is an unacceptable imposition and the cause of a major crisis, how does the EU imagine that offloading them to Turkey will be any less of an imposition or crisis?

Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU commissioner for migration, has described the bottleneck of migrants and refugees in Greece, created by the closing of borders further north, as raising "the possibility of a humanitarian crisis of a large scale". Why should bottling migrants up in Turkey rather than in Greece be any different?

What the deal envisages is the forced collective expulsion of migrants and refugees from Greece to Turkey. Leave aside the morality think of the practicalities. Do the EU leaders think that tens of thousands of migrants and refugees will meekly accept their fate and return quietly?Throughout the past year migrants and refugees have shown their willingness to take enormous risks and put up with great hardships. They have shown also their willingness to stand up to the authorities if pushed too far.

It is worth putting those numbers in context. One million of the refugees constitutes less than 0.2 percent of the EU's population.Turkey is already host to 2.7 million Syrian refugees. (Those are the official figures; the real number is likely to be more than three million.)There are already 1.3 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon - 20 percent of the population. That is the equivalent of Europe playing host to 100 million refugees. Pakistan and Iran each have over one million refugees within their borders.

There is a Pattern in EU Migration Plicy

Far from the Turkey deal being a "historic breakthrough", as Donald Tusk, the European Council president, described it, it follows the pattern of previous EU migration policies.Since the 1990s, the EU has adopted a three-pronged strategy: criminalising migrants; militarising border controls; and outsourcing the problem by paying non-EU states.The one country that has come out of this whole debacle with honour is Greece. The people of Greece, despite their own economic hardships, have nevertheless shown an admirable moral commitment to migrants. The island of Lesbos, close to the Turkish coast, is at the very centre of the crisis. The number of migrants and refugees who have arrived on the island in the first two months of 2016 alone is about the same as Lesbos' normal population. Yet, the locals continue to support migrants with food, shelter and solidarity.

Excerpted from an article that appeared in Al Jazeera

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