Turkey urges EU to keep promises under 2016 deal

Turkey urges EU to keep promises under 2016 deal
# 07 March 2020 09:46 (UTC +04:00)

The EU should keep its promises and not make charges against Turkey, Ankara's Foreign Ministry said early Saturday in response to a statement by a EU agency, APA's Turkey bureau reports.

"Instead of accusing Turkey, the EU should first keep its promises, apply itself to the March 18 [2016 EU-Turkey refugee] Agreement as a whole," the ministry said, referring to a statement Friday from an extraordinary meeting of EU Foreign Affairs Council that focused on the Idlib, Syria crisis and asylum seekers at the Turkey-Greece border.

Ankara has repeatedly complained that Europe has failed to keep its promises under the 2016 EU-Turkey refugee deal to help migrants and stem further migrant waves.

"It clearly shows that the European Union still cannot grasp the extraordinary burden and efforts that our country faces in migration and security issues," it said in the statement that underlined that Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees in the world with the best intentions. "To accuse a country of using immigration for a political purpose is a new indicator of the hypocritical approach we have been exposed to for years” and the EU essentially makes the issue "political material.”

"It is also exemplary for the EU to back up Greece, which violates international law and human rights and deems proper all kinds of torture to innocent people who come to its borders, contradicting its principles and values," it said.

The ministry said the EU Foreign Affairs Council refuses to call people who demand international protection and come by their free will to the borders of other safe countries -- the EU countries -- as asylum seekers, and uses the term "migrant" for these individuals.

"It is not possible to ignore the 1951 Geneva Convention and EU legislation with a play on words," it said and stressed EU countries, including Greece, are obliged to receive applications from asylum seekers by respecting international obligations.

The statement went on to say that with the support from the EU, Greece ignored the international law and EU laws, by announcing it suspending asylum applications.

"With its latest statement, the EU also tolerates the violation of international law and EU law, putting EU values aside," it said.

It emphasized that the illegal actions of Greece against asylum seekers have also been announced by many international organizations and non-governmental organizations, including the UN and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Turkish Foreign Ministry called on the EU and the EU Institutions to comply with the EU Foundation Agreement and EU law, respecting European common values.

Ankara recently announced that it would no longer try to stop asylum seekers from reaching Europe.