European Commission opposes to sending migrants to Turkey

European Commission opposes to sending migrants to Turkey

European Commission opposes to sending migrants to Turkey

AP photo

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said he would not be a party in sending migrants back to Turkey upon what he called “Samson Plan,” stating the plan was “illegal” after it drew negative reactions both from the European Commission and several rights advocate groups.

“I would not be a party in sending migrants back to Turkey by the European Union,” daily Hürriyet quoted Juncker as he spoke to Dutch daily Financieele Dagblad. Former commissioner of the European Commission Karel De Gucht described the plan to sending migrants back to Turkey as “far from reality,” DutchNews reported.

The Netherlands is working with some EU members on a plan to send migrants back to Turkish soil in exchange for giving asylum to up to 250,000 others already hosted by Turkey, a top Dutch lawmaker said, drawing criticisms from the European Commission as well as rights groups.

All migrants arriving through the Greek islands would be sent back to Turkey, Agence France-Presse quoted Diederik Samsom, parliamentary leader of the coalition Labour Party (PvdA), as saying on Jan. 28., as EU officials cited a rise in the number of migrants having arrived in Europe, who would not qualify for asylum.

The plan reportedly worked on by the Netherlands suggests hosting refugees eligible for asylum application who are already hosted by Turkey.

“Indeed we have seen that the numbers of people arriving in Europe who don’t have a genuine claim to asylum have been rising slightly,” a spokeswoman for the European Commission told a regular news briefing on Jan. 28.

More than 54,500 people have already reached Europe by sea this year, including 50,668 through Greece, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the U.N. agency dealing with refugees. Much of the EU debate, however, on how to handle the influx has focused on distinguishing people fleeing war, and thus eligible for international protection, from “economic” migrants seeking better lives without being under immediate threat.

Amnesty International quickly denounced the idea as “fundamentally flawed,” saying it would deny those arriving the right to have their asylum claims properly considered. 

“Any resettlement proposal that is conditional on effectively sealing off borders and illegally pushing back tens of thousands of people while denying them access to asylum procedures is morally bankrupt,” said Amnesty’s John Dalhuisen. “There is no excuse for breaking the law and flouting international obligations in the process.”

Elaborating on the plan, Samson said the migrants in question would be dealt with under U.N. agreements for handling refugees.