Greek-Turkish border: MEPs reject Turkey’s pressure, demand common asylum rules

iom turkey

A Syrian family prepares to huddle down by a fire out of the wind while children gather branches to burn Saturday night as they deliberate how to get home after a failed crossing attempt at the Edirne border with Greece. ©IOM/Emrah Özesen

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.


The EU must help Greece manage its border with Turkey, while ensuring the right to asylum for those who need it, several MEPs said on Tuesday.

In a debate with Commissioner Johansson and the Croatian Presidency of the Council, a majority of speakers criticised Turkish President Erdoğan for using people’s suffering for political purposes. Many also underlined that the 2015 refugee crisis should not be repeated and insisted that the EU needs to update its common rules on asylum.

Some political group leaders called for a revision of the deal with Turkey, which was hammered out in 2016 to stem the flow of migrants and asylum-seekers in exchange for EU financial aid. Others showed deep concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation both at the border with Turkey and on the Greek islands, where thousands of asylum-seekers, many of them unaccompanied minors, are stranded.

The need to respect the Geneva Convention and offer protection to refugees, the allegations about police violence against people attempting to cross the border and the risk that jihadists could be entering EU territory were also raised during the discussion.

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