medico international | For a European policy of human rights. We call to end the EU-Turkey deal and to evacuate the Greek refugee camps. An appeal to the EU summit by kritnet & medico international.

“The Turkish army’s invasion of northern Syria is not only Erdoğan’s war against Rojava, but also the latest expression of the total failure of European migration and foreign policy. Rather than helping to solve the causes of global flight, these policies instead serve to systematically exacerbate them. They do not help to create ‘order’, as their strategists claim, but instead sow a million times despair, fuel chaos in the refugee camps of Europe and further violence like that currently being witnessed in Syria. The Turkish war to enforce the alleged protection zone, into which one million Syrian refugees are to be forcibly expelled, is beyond any reason, the end of politics. It simply ceases dealing with global problems. Moria, Idlib, Rojava – European migration policy has tied its fate to that of Turkey, to the fate of millions of people, as a pledge of chattels for a European truce.

The abandonment of a responsible politics, capable of framing and steering developments, is nothing new. The end of politics, has been dragging on for some time now. It began four years ago with the EU-Turkey deal, with which the European Union hired Turkey as a border guard and created a bulwark against the desire merely for a better life. At the same time, the Greek islands were transformed into special legal zones in which basic asylum standards no longer apply; they were turned into open-air prisons for those who had, regardless, managed to cross the Aegean Sea and reach European soil. Only a week ago – after another fire broke out in the EU refugee camp Moria on Lesvos, with multiple ensuing fatalities – the German interior minister travelled to Athens and Ankara to persuade Greece and Turkey to implement the deal more effectively.

For years, the end of politics has also been apparent in the undignified yet relentless scramble to create a European distribution mechanism for arrivals – while the thousands of deaths in the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas that have taken place in the meantime are taken in the continent’s stride. The overlooked issue of refugees is now returning to the European agenda with full force – specifically to that of an EU that has made itself susceptible to blackmail, with its policy of doing dirty deals. The EU’s organised contempt for humanity has long served as a blank cheque for the Erdoğan government to suppress democratic opposition and civil society in their own country. Now, it also serves as a standstill agreement on the invasion of Syria by Turkish troops.

The EU looks on while the basic requirements of international asylum law concerning refoulement are violated: refugees from Greece are being deported to Turkey and, on a massive scale, onwards to warzones like Idlib. The EU looks on as Turkey completely abandons even its already precarious asylum and protection system, with the country forcibly deporting masses of Syrian refugees back to Syria. However the EU is more than just an onlooker, in fact; it is party to an evil game that threatens hundreds of thousands of people with death.

The EU–Turkey deal, the mass disenfranchisement of migrants, the support for Erdoğan’s war, the consistent turning of a blind eye to the situation in Syria, the continued ignorance of the precarious fate of millions of people on the edge of Europe: these are some of the biggest scandals in recent European history. They bear witness to political bankruptcy, to foreign policy unscrupulousness and to an EU that criticises the wickedness of the Donald Trump administration at every turn, yet which itself has given up on even the most fundamental of human rights.

The alternative is clear: a human rights-based foreign and migration policy assuming global responsibility. What ‘must not be repeated’ is not, in fact, the ‘summer of migration’ of 2015, as German Interior Minister Seehofer likes to repeatedly emphasise. What must never be repeated, rather, is the extradition of millions of people to dictatorial regimes; expulsion and war. Let us not kid ourselves here: anyone who today opposes the admission of migrants to Europe is, simply put, in favour of their death.

We call on the European Council and the EU governments to:

  • End the EU–Turkey deal.
  • End the partnership with Erdoğan’s government, cease arms supplies and make use of all possible avenues to halt at once the war against Rojava in northern Syria.
  • Immediately evacuate the migrant camps on the Greek islands, and allow their inhabitants freedom of movement in Europe and their reception by Solidarity Cities.
  • Lay new political foundations for migration and asylum in Europe, with policies committed to protecting the human rights of refugees and migrants in Syria, the Mediterranean and in Europe itself.”

Source/more information: medico international, 17 October 2019
Appeal in German and English version, together with a list of initial signatories
medico international projects in Syria: read more