In accordance with the agreement, the EU and Turkey have pledged to improve humanitarian conditions in Syria, but nothing has been done in this regard. The EU has been closely monitoring Turkey`s military attacks on Syria and remains extremely critical. As part of the agreement, Syrian refugees are exchanged between Turkey and EU countries. The agreement provides for the EU to send back to Turkey all Syrians who arrived illegally on the Greek islands after 20 March 2016. In exchange, legal Syrian refugees are admitted to the EU. Asylum policy expert Dr. Basak Yavcan says a lot of money has been spent on the high administrative costs of international civil organizations. That`s why refugees have received less money, she says. Amnesty International found that under the agreement, “the Greek government has introduced changes to its asylum procedure and that asylum applications have been rejected at first instance as part of an expedited procedure… Many of them have been rejected without judging their merits, considering that Turkey is a safe country for asylum seekers and refugees. On Wednesday, the European Commission decided to make available the second tranche of 3 billion euros promised under the refugee agreement.
In contrast, the Turkish government has said it has so far received 1.85 billion euros from the EU. Financial support from the EU Fund is provided to Turkey through projects. Aid is not delivered to state coffers. For European states, the agreement had obvious advantages: it marginalized their borders and reduced the number of refugees arriving in their countries. But it has had negative effects on thousands of refugees – and has in practice violated international law and refugee protection standards. Since then, thousands of people across Europe have been exposed in inappropriate and hostile living conditions, without access to sufficient physical, psychological and legal support. Read also: Opinion: In Greece, refugees are presented as enemies Four years after the signing of the agreement between the European Union and Turkey, nothing seems to be more so. The agreement was then presented as a foolproof solution, and only a week later, on 20 March 2016, arrivals in Greece rose from 1,740 to 47 per day. The EU`s eastern border was apparently sealed and other routes became more important: first, the central route between Libya and Italy (181,436 arrivals in 2017), then the western route between Morocco and Spain (58,525 arrivals in 2018).
But what, at the time, looked like a model that could be followed became a nightmare. The number of irregular arrivals on the Greek islands is increasing again and images of xenophobic attacks on Lesbos and the shooting of Greek police in Edirne have had widespread repercussions. So what happened? The agreement, which included a 6 billion euro commitment from Turkey in exchange for the control of European asylum seekers, undermined the fundamental values defended by the EU, while fuelling a dangerous narrative of populism. The remuneration of refugees and other migrants is also not a sustainable migration policy. The very few displaced persons in Turkey who can be resettled and the slow pace of transfers mean that the agreement does little for the vast majority of refugees in Turkey, but hinders their opportunities for future movement.