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Merkel, Rutte promised Turkey to accept 250K Syrian refugees per year

As more and more European countries ban Turkish rallies, several Greeks I spoke to in the last days are concerned that Ankara may start to push refugees and migrants towards Greece and consequently Europe as retaliation over the row.

“I’m afraid, we will pay the price again,” a friend told me today and another added “I’m sure Erdogan will send thousands to Greece again and they will be stuck here as the European borders are closed.”

On Monday, Turkish Minister for EU Affairs Omer Celik invited several local journalists  and briefed them about Ankara’s intentions to reconsider the EU Turkey Deal on the Refugee Crisis.

“Turkey should reevaluate the issue of land crossings [of the refugee deal with the European Union],” Celik said, as quoted by the Anadolu news agency. Celik said that the EU has not kept its promises.

Celik’s briefing occurred almost at the same time, when German daily Die Welt posted a report that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte made concrete promises with Turkey over refugee quota.

According to the report, Merkel and Rutte agreed a refugee quota with Turkey in 2016 without informing other EU leaders. They reportedly pledged to accept up to 250,000 Syrian refugees per year.

Die Welt writes that Merkel and Rutte met with then-Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on March 6, 2016 – the night before the EU-Turkey summit.

Rutte – who held the rotating EU presidency at the time – and Merkel committed to a legal refugee quota with Turkey without telling other members of the European Union about the exact figures. The three leaders also agreed to present the details of their agreed-upon deal as a surprise proposal from the Turkish delegation the next day.

Merkel and Rutte agreed that Europe would accept 150,000 to 200,000 Syrian refugees from Turkey per year. In the final document of the summit, the EU and Turkish leaders agreed to a “credible voluntary humanitarian admission program with Turkey.” (article via DW)

PS This reminds me of Juncker’s promise that EU member states would accept 6,000 refugees per month from Greece and Italy.

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  1. It was obvious from the outset that the illegal EU-Turkey Statement would not survive for long. Erdogan was using it all the time as a threat to the EU, and it is unlikely that he would back down from carrying out his threat.

    The ridiculous thing is that Greece has done nothing to prepare itself for the possible resumption of mass inflows. The useless minister — Mouzalas — has failed to develop a strategy, failed to appoint experts to help (using his relatives instead) and failed to absorb the massive EU funding available for Greece to use. This is a mix of incompetence and arrogance. Does Tsipras sack him? No. Is anything done to remedy the situatiion? No.

    Greece may as well not bother having a government or Parliament. These things were not under the control of the Troika, yet the government was totally incapable of doing anything intelligent. They could not even prepare buildings for the predicted cold weather, leaving refugees to freeze in tents. And the useless Mayor of Athens was no better — whining about the illegal occupation of municipal buildings to house refugees, whcih was actually done efficiently and with humanity by NGOs. One has the very clear impression that unless there is a way to siphon off money, there is no interest from Greek politicians and institutions in taking EU money to solve problems. They would prefer to see Greece fall apart.

    And one has to wonder: where is the nationalism or patriotism now? It seems to consist prmarily of complaining about (1) the Germans; (2) the Turks; (3) the Albanians and Bulgarians; (4) anyone else who comes to mind at the time.

    • It’s nice if Turkey is threatening Europe but even nicer would be if they’d care about the refugees and open up this stupid Fyrom-border, so that family-members can search for other family-members in Central-Europe!
      I guess China would pay for it, as COSCO will be pissed off again for being forced to loose fright instead for Pireaus to Koder(?) in Slovenia
      May be Kammenos gets invited for German beer in Ankara, AKP gots a nice beer-sponsor
      But I think this dieWelt-Bullshit is a fake and Davotuglu was not a “leader”, rumours go that he got sacked for the deal.

  2. Yep, Mark Rutte is not to be trusted. Nor Merkel. If this is true then he and Merkel did this behind everybody’s back. It is a bit strange because how would they be able to keep this hidden from the rest of the EU? How did they think they would get away with this and how did they think they had the mandate to agree to this? They did not inform the rest of the EU about this. So that will piss these countries off.
    If this is really true then there will be a serious political backlash from this. Not only politically in NL (with one day to go to the elections and Rutte has been summoned to the parliament to answer questions on this) but also in the EU. Rutte’s teflon days might be over.
    Anyway, Erdogan has threatened (again) to send migrants to Europe so Greece seems to be screwed once again. Everybody is toying with people’s lives. Erdogan will become full dictator but in the long run he and Turkey will be finished. They will not survive EU sanctions but they could do a lot of damage in the mean time.