Turkey`s Association Agreement with the EU serves as the basis for the implementation of the accession process. Several institutions have been created to ensure political dialogue and cooperation throughout the accession preparation process. Apart from the existing agreement, the EU could also consider supporting Turkey`s efforts to support border management, including in the East, the main route for undocumented migrants. EU aid can also be provided to help Turkey meet the needs of hundreds of thousands of migrants from other countries, including Afghans. The EU could support grassroots organisations that cooperate with these people and encourage EU-funded organisations that focus on the needs of Syrian refugees to extend their work to other migrant groups. But Turkey, which hosts nearly 4 million refugees and migrants, first had to stop using migrants as a bargaining stock. «Turkey has a heavy burden… and we need to understand that,» Borrell said. But at the same time, we cannot accept that migrants are being used as a source of pressure. Since we are not prepared to take in millions of refugees in Europe, we have no choice but to conclude a new agreement with Turkey.
Turkey believes that it has stood on its side, but that the EU has not done the same. This led President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to threaten to suspend the agreement and the action plan. This has not been welcomed by EU Member States. But instead of exchanging criticism, the EU and Turkey really need to agree on a new plan. The one that builds on the 2016 agreement and revises incentives for Turkey to better reflect the burden it bears. By the end of 2017, the EU-Turkey agreement had succeeded in limiting irregular migration to Europe via Turkey. However, many doubts remain about the implementation of the agreement, including the question of how the agreement might be contrary to the protection of human rights presented by the Indian of the 1951 Geneva Convention. Critics say the agreement is essentially a deterrence strategy aimed at encouraging irregular migrants to apply for asylum in Turkey rather than submitting to arrest and repatriation to Ankara, which ultimately prolongs their application process.
On the night of 27-28 February, Turkey lifted its strict controls on its maritime and land borders with Greece since March 2016 and pushed thousands of migrants to the border in an attempt to transit to Europe. Ankara`s decision came just an hour after it was reported that at least 34 Turkish soldiers had been killed in Idlib, syria`s last rebel-held stronghold. It was the highest number of deaths suffered by the Turkish army in a single attack in the past two decades, and a growing fear that intensified fighting in Idlib could push nearly a million more Syrians into Turkey to join the four million refugees the country has generously taken in.