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Turkey: EU violating international law by breaking migrant pact

[JURIST] Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan [BBC profile] stated on Thursday that European Union states are violating international law by breaking their migrant pact with Turkey, by not allowing the country to extradite suspected terrorists. Speaking at a ceremony in the capital Ankara, Erdogan threatened [Guardian report] to terminate the migrant deal if the EU does not abide by the agreed upon conditions. Erdogan further clarified [World Bulletin report] that Turkey will not freely accept all immigrants from Greece. Rather, immigrants will be exchanged for Syrian refugees residing in Turkey on a one-to-one basis. Upon resettling 72,000 Syrian refugees, the terms of the EU agreement will be renegotiated. The migrant pact took affect on Monday, however deportations were suspended for four days due to complications with managing migrants. Deportations have resumed and 120 migrants have been ferried from Greece to Turkey.

In March EU leaders agreed to a deal [JURIST report] with Turkey to stem migrant flows, particularly of Syrian refugees, to Europe in return for financial and political incentive to Ankara. Under the terms of the deal [WP report], all migrants crossing the Aegean into Greece would be sent back to Turkey, effectively turning the country into the region's "migrant holding center." In return for receiving the migrants, the EU is promising [Reuters report] to speed disbursement of €3 billion to Turkey, while offering an additional €3 billion by 2018 contingent upon creation of plans qualifying for EU assistance. That same month, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi [official profile], expressed concerns [statement, text] for the then proposed migrant exchange program [JURIST report] between the EU and Turkey. Grandi said in his speech before the European Parliament [official website], "I am deeply concerned about any arrangement that would involve the blanket return of anyone from one country to another without spelling out the refugee protection safeguards under international law." Amnesty International [advocacy website] (AI) also demonstrated concern [press release] over the deal, calling it "an alarmingly short-sighted and inhumane attitude to handling this crisis."Earlier this month the AI reported [JURIST report] that Turkey has been forcibly returning up to 100 refugees to Syria per day and expressed concern for the possible future of transported migrants.

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