Turkey Suspends Readmission Agreement With Greece

The liberalisation of the visa regime for Turkish citizens in the EU was part of the first EU-Turkey declaration of 18 March 2016, which agreed that “compliance with the roadmap for visa liberalisation will be accelerated vis-à-vis all participating Member States so that the visa requirement for Turkish citizens can be lifted by the end of June 2016, as long as all benchmarks are met”. The EU agreed on Monday (July 15th) to postpone the announcement of sanctions against Turkey for drilling in waters off Cyprus by a few hours after Ankara asked Ankara not to interfere on the third anniversary of the failed coup, EU officials and diplomats euractiv.com said. “We have a migrant agreement with the EU. It is being implemented. We have a bilateral readmission agreement with Greece. We have now suspended that agreement. The process is not yet complete, but our work towards Greece will continue,” Avusolu told reporters in Antalya. It is clear that Europe has left us alone with this agreement. There`s no point in hitting us on the back. If Turkey did not take concrete action, no European government would last six months. If that`s what you want, we can try,” he said, according to the Anadolu news agency. Persistent controversies over the adoption of the EU-Turkey Declaration over the next three years have mainly focused on the following concerns: the implementation of the declaration would hinder asylum seekers` access to protection; this would result in returns; and that, because of its geographical limitation to the 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees and its practices, Turkey cannot be considered a safe third country, within the meaning of the definition set out in EU law. (16) As these concerns may constitute a violation of international human rights law and/or UNION legislation, several scientists have also been called upon to question the legal validity of the declaration. The EU-Turkey Declaration, which did not include the essential formal requirements of an international treaty while giving a contradictory impression on the substance, raised a number of questions about its binding effect.

In addition, the form and content of the EU-Turkey declaration has caused controversy not only in terms of international law, but also from the point of view of EU law. (18) When the EU-Turkey declaration was published in a press release published on the EU summit website, it was presented in response to the increase in EU migration flows. The content of the statement illustrates this fact. However, the Tribunal`s order in early 2017 in the case of “NF, NG and NM/European Council” paints a completely different picture. (19) The case is brought following a request from two Pakistani nationals and an Afghan national who travelled from Turkey to Greece. The applicants stated that their return to Turkey, on the basis of the EU-Turkey declaration, would risk violating the principle of non-refoulement. The applicants argued that the EU-Turkey declaration was an international agreement, that it had been concluded between the European Council on behalf of the EU and Turkey and that its validity should therefore be verified by the Court of Justice (ECJ). However, the Tribunal found that the EU-Turkey declaration was merely a political statement and could not be considered an act of an EU institution, since, on the basis of negotiations, it was concluded not between the EU and Turkey, but between the heads of state and government of EU Member States and their Turkish counterparts.