The role of the EU-Turkey statement in refugees’ decision making
Dr Talitha Dubow & Dr Katie Kuschminder (2022)
Policy Brief No. 2/2022
2021 marked the five-year anniversary of the EU-Turkey Statement – a package of policies agreed between the EU and Turkey to end irregular migration from Turkey to the EU. Also in 2021, alarm was raised as thousands of refugees and other migrants braved brutal pushbacks and dangerous conditions in order to cross into the EU from Belarus. The development of this route – used mainly by Iraqis, Afghans and Syrians, who make up the largest groups of refugees in Turkey and who travelled, in part, from or via Turkey (BBC news, 2021) – demonstrates the continued need for international protection and durable solutions for people for whom the EU-Turkey Statement has not offered any kind of acceptable solution. This policy brief analyses the role of the EU-Turkey Statement in the decision-making of refugees regarding whether or not to migrate onwards from
Turkey, based on a comparison of interview and survey data collected in 2015 and 2019. The results show that the EU-Turkey Statement has created a “stuck” population of refugees who still strongly aspire to leave Turkey, where their needs have not been addressed and where conditions have deteriorated, but whose onwards movement has been severely constrained.
Migration, EU-Turkey statement, refugees, decision making