On 18 March 2016 the European Union (EU) and Turkey signed an agreement to end the irregular migration flows from Turkey to islands off the coast of Greece. This paper aims to reveal the legality of this agreement under the current EU and international legislative frameworks. Moreover, the positions and supporting argumentation of both governmental and non-governmental organisations will be examined to disclose the legality or otherwise of this state arrangement. Consequently, this paper will draw two principal conclusions:
- The EU-Turkey agreement cannot at this moment in time be considered legal under international law. This is due to the security situation in Turkey which impacts the health and rights of the individuals concerned. Thus, Turkey cannot be afforded the designation of a ‘Safe third Country’.
- The EU and its member states should explore alternative solutions such as a common European Asylum Policy, and a focus on integrating refugees/migrants into European society instead of returning ‘irregular’ migrants to Turkey.
Published 16 October 2016.