Greek authorities began returning migrants to Turkey Monday as part of an EU-Turkey deal reached last month to curb the flow of migrants into Europe (Guardian). More than two hundred Pakistani and Bangladeshi migrants arrived Monday in the Turkishport of Dikili (Reuters) from the Greek islands of Lesbos and Chios. Under the deal, which is criticized by international rights groups, Turkey will accept rejected migrants from the EU, which in turn will resettle one Syrian refugee from Turkey for each Syrian Turkey accepts from Greece.
"It's in Turkey's long-term interest to pull the EU from the brink by helping solve the migration crisis. If the collaboration wins Turkey some understanding in Brussels for its preferred course to ending the Syrian conflict — to step up aid to moderate Syrian rebels, fighting the regime of Bashar Assad rather than arm Syrian Kurds to fight ISIS — it will ease Ankara's growing sense of isolation, caused by a falling out with Washington," writes Roy Gutman for Politico.
"It makes sense for the Turks to help [German] Chancellor Merkel, who has not taken part in the refugee bashing or Islamophobic rhetoric that some political forces in Europe have employed. It's in Turkey's interest that such politicians remain influential in Europe. The new alliance of far-right populist parties, from [Marine] Le Pen in France to some of the Visegrad governments to the far right in Austria or the Netherlands, which is pro-Putin, anti-Turkish, and anti-refugee, constitutes a strategic threat to Turkey," says expert Gerald Knaus in an interview with CFR.
"How Turkey deals with refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan is something the decision-makers in Brussels don't want to know. At their summit on refugees, they decided that the problem should be passed on to someone else. And that's what they've done. The thousands of promised EU personnel have not been sent; only 70 additional civil servants from across the European Union are in Greece to work at the moment. It appears that only the European Commission knows how the refugees slated for deportation will be afforded legal proceedings in line with EU standards - and the commission is letting no one in on its secret," write Bernd Riegert for Deutsche Welle.
CFR-Daily News Brief