a vicious circle of regional conflict and forced migration

Despite years of difficult relations, the European Union and Turkey continue to cooperate in various fields, in particular migration. Since the launch of the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey (FRiT) as part of March 18 EU-Turkey Declaration 2016, the EU is providing substantial funding to Turkey to support refugees and host communities, as much as 6 billion euros by the end of 2020.

Another recently approved 149.6 million euros in funding in the EU’s multiannual financial framework reflects the partnership between the EU and Turkey in the field of migration management. This additional funding will be used to extend the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN), the largest humanitarian program in EU history, providing versatile cash assistance to 1.8 million vulnerable refugees in Turkey.

Moving forward in the EU-Turkey relationship will inevitably require that both partners begin to tackle root causes (e.g. conflict mediation), including greater harmonization of foreign policy, development policy and policy. of security.

“The current method of managing migration is like trying to put a cast on someone who has had a serious accident: it is not sustainable and it does not address the root causes of the problem.”

The current method of managing migration is like trying to put a cast on someone who has had a serious accident: it is not sustainable and it does not address the root causes of the problem. This is what the EU and Turkey are called upon to face for many years to come, due to their intertwined geographies, economies, energy routes and populations.

The gravity of the humanitarian disaster in Afghanistan has a direct impact on Turkey as well as on the EU. Due to the overland route connecting Central Asia, the Middle East, Turkey and the EU, it is likely that the EU and Turkey will have to continue to cooperate on migration management for many years to come.

These conclusions are, first of all, based on the risk of continued conflict in the region, as well as on fundamental factors of change over the past two decades, notably the decline in Internet costs and the exponential increase in the top. speed, mobile telephony and GPS access.

This is, secondly, based on the fact that UN OCHA figures over the past decade (see Figure 2) confirm that internal displacement figures in Afghanistan saw an extraordinary increase in May, June and July 2021. By taking this data and comparing it with the context of Afghanistan in the summer of 2021, it becomes clear that further migration and unrest is inevitable.

In Afghanistan, the factors pushing for migration continue to be economic hardship, violence, human rights violations and natural disasters. It is therefore logical that the EU and Turkey are turning away from the simple management of migration to cooperate more in the fields of development, security and foreign policy in order to tackle its root causes.

For example, the concept of harmonizing the security and foreign policy of the EU and Turkey remains difficult, but the existing legal frameworks currently exist in Turkey’s accession process, namely in chapters 31 (Foreign, security and defense policy) and 30 (External relations).

“Anything that is not foreign policy cooperation between the EU and Turkey will only kick the box down the road”

Most importantly, an increase in inter-institutional cooperation between foreign affairs, defense and development ministries / agencies such as the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) and the European Commission Directorate General for International Partnerships (INTPA) should be considered increasingly necessary for Afghanistan. This can be further expanded and is likely to generate cost-efficiency and more effective security and migration management, while supporting the distribution and humanitarian corridors needed to sustain and stabilize Afghanistan.

Anything that is not foreign policy cooperation between the EU and Turkey will only kick the box. The risk of persistent political differences between the EU and Turkey is quickly becoming a reality, although their regional problems are all too similar: conflict, radicalization and forced migration.


This editorial is a brief summary of a longer research paper on migration and EU-Turkey relations, funded by the European Union as part of the civil society dialogue project ‘Strengthening the dialogue between the EU and Turkey in the field of migration and security ”led by Dialogue for Europe (DfE) in cooperation with the European Association for Global Research and Research (ABKAD)


“>This article reflects the views of the author and not those of The Parliament Magazine or The Dods Group

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