Seeing how political leaders are haggling over human lives as if they were boxes, and deciding arbitrarily that half the Syrian refugees are not deserving of European protection, while covertly accepting that Turkey is a safe country to which they can be returned, is nauseating.
Turkey “is waging war on an ethnic minority, its riot police just stormed the offices of a major newspaper, its secret service faces allegations of arming Isis and its military shot down a Russian bomber” (The Guardian, Can a Turkey sliding into despotism and censorship still join the EU? The answer must be no): how can it be a safe country for Syrian refugees, when Greece was declared by European courts not to be a safe country for refugees? Are we going to have to wait years until European courts are called to intervene to see that this kind of deal is unacceptable?
Moreover, forcibly returning hundreds of thousands of migrants to Turkey will be a logistical and moral nightmare. The only way forward that respects the dignity of migrants and refugees is for Europe to offer legal, safe and cheap mobility solutions, based on visas, towards all European countries – with an appropriate distribution key –, solutions which incentivise migrants to wait in Turkey until the selection process is complete, the security checks are done and the papers are ready. This is the only way that European authorities will effectively compete with the smuggling rings and destroy their business model.