Migration: is Turkey a safe third country?
The Greek government has designated Turkey as a "safe third country" for people from Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan and Bangladesh who enter Greece via the Turkish border. This means that, like the Syrians, they will now to be sent back to Turkey without any examination of their asylum applications. NGOs have denounced the move saying it means that almost all refugees arriving in Greece will be denied the right to asylum - regardless of the circumstances that prompted them to leave their countries of origin.
Europe has lost its humanitarian core
In.gr columnist Panagiotis Sotiris sees this as proof of a migration policy that has utterly failed not just in Greece, but the entire EU:
“I want to address the root of the problem, which is the pan-European renunciation of people's right to humanitarian protection in a world where so many problems are still forcing people to embark on the difficult path of seeking asylum. A trend that makes the situation of these people far more difficult and also accelerates the total collapse of the democratic core that is supposed to be at the heart of the 'European edifice'.”
Doomed to be exploited
The refugees are now trapped, TVXS warns:
“Even if Turkey were indeed a safe country for asylum seekers, the regulation can't be implemented at the moment because the neighbouring country hasn't accepted any people being sent back from Greece since March 2020 [due to the coronavirus pandemic]. Thousands of people are now losing the right to apply for asylum in the European Union. Their asylum applications are rejected as inadmissible [on the grounds that Turkey is responsible for processing them] and they're unwanted in Greece and Turkey as well. Without any support from the Greek state (housing, food, financial aid), these refugees will be the perfect victims of exploitation.”