Yet another year, and yet another episode where the migrant arrival in Europe from Turkey continued to grow unabatedly. This was the situation, experts feel, in the course of the past. And this was the situation, that one feels, hasn’t really changed in recent times too. Where 2019 was concerned, then the migrant arrival in Europe from Turkey continued to swell in numbers.
But, first up a context. The continuous rise in migrant arrival in Europe from Turkey perhaps points to an agreement that took place in the past, one that may not have panned out the way it was executed in spirit.
It was back in 2016 that the EU-Turkey deal on migrant crisis was inked. The deal was formulated to tackle the issue of the rising migrant crisis in Europe, with arrivals continuing constantly from Turkey. So what did this deal actually say or hold? It was decided, mutually by both parties to check the irregular migrant movement between the European Union and Turkey.
Decisions were taken to limit the irregularities in the movement of migrants, arriving in the European Union from Turkey. So what did this imply? Both the European Union and Turkey arrived at the decision to return to the Turkish capital of Ankara, any such migrant who was found to have entered the European Union from Turkey without having already undergone a formal asylum application process.
The key element in this decision was to identify those migrants who may have entered the EU from Turkey having bypassed the asylum process in Turkey, in which case those in the wrong would be returned only to be placed at the end of the application line in Turkey.
The decision was an important one to be taken for the simple reason that among the initial destinations for the migrant arrival in Europe from Turkey, has, as dictated by usual trends, been Greece. The Greek island of Lesvos has seen, in recent years, an influx of migrants entering Europe from Turkey, only for them to wait for the determination of their asylum status.
But cut to 2019, what really has changed, if at all?
Apparently, there’s a confidential EU report that had something telling on the matter of migrant arrival in Europe from Turkey. And the findings of the report clearly point to the direction that nothing much has changed in the context of migrant arrival in Europe from Turkey.
In 2019, as many as 70,000 migrants were reported to have crossed Turkey to enter the European Union.
And all of this information seems to point questions in the direction whether the EU-Turkey deal, arrived back in 2016, is unraveling.
Popular German media platform DW.com had the following inputs to share in this regard:
From January to mid-December, 70,002 migrants reached the European Union from Turkey, representing a jump of 46% compared with the same period in 2018, Die Welt reported on Tuesday. Around 68,000 of these migrants crossed the Aegean to Greece, where they are living in overcrowded migrant camps. Smaller numbers reached Bulgaria, Italy, and Cyprus.
In a new development, most migrants came from Afghanistan. Their share is now 30%, while the proportion of asylum applications from Syria is only 14%, followed by Pakistanis (9.5%), Iraqis (8.0%) and citizens of Turkey (5%).
All of that said, the European problem with the rise of the migrants has been particularly troublesome especially in the context of Greece, where, it doesn’t appear as if things have improved from 2016 onward. The constant spate in the arrivals of migrants in Greece has been putting extreme pressure particularly in the region of Aegean islands.
This is down to the fact that as seen of late, the number of refugee camps in the Aegean region has constantly been increasing in an undulating manner. Problems persist not just for Greece but in fact, for the migrants who’ve escaped Turkey and reached these groups of islands as there’s not only a paucity of food but also clothing and medicine.
One wonders, what might 2020 bring?