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EU-Turkey deal

Mathias Bölinger / groApril 5, 2016

The EU deports migrants to Turkey and Turkey sends migrants to the EU: That is the deal and the relocation began Monday. Here are the most important facts on the agreement. How are refugees bound for Europe selected?

Türkei Dikili Rückführung von Flüchtlingen
Image: Getty Images/AFP/O. Kose

Turkish immigration authorities register potential resettlement candidates with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR). Candidates undergo a vetting process with the UNHCR, which creates personal files and passes them on to individual states in the EU.

Each country selects the refugees it would like to take in. German authorities choose suitable candidates from these files. After that, Germany evaluates the candidates on the basis of several criteria, which include keeping families together and considering existing ties to Germany because of the advantages.

According to a spokesman from the German Interior Ministry (BMI), the need for protection and the ability to integrate are also assessed. The latter factor encompasses level of education, language skills and work experience. After identity and security checks have been carried out, the refugees are granted an entry visa to Germany.

What is the connection between deported and accepted refugees?

As a basic principle, for every Syrian refugee who is sent from Greece to Turkey, a Syrian from Turkey will be allowed to enter Europe. In the longer term, the figures should eventually match each other. In the beginning, however, one side may have to provide "advance input," is how a BMI speaker described it.

What kind of figures are we talking about?

The EU states and Turkey agreed to quotas a long time ago and they still have to be filled. Originally, 22,500 available places were promised and 18,000 of them have not yet been filled. Of those, Germany has been allotted 1,600. In addition to that, the EU states have agreed to quotas for the resettlement of refugees within the EU. They can also be reallocated to accommodate Syrians from Turkey. This part of the deal applies to 54,000 people. Germany has pledged 13,500 places under this agreement. All in all, a total 72,000 can be taken in by the EU. After that, the deal must be renegotiated.

Is Germany the only country that has accepted the refugees under the agreement?

Up until now, we only know about the first 32 refugees who were flown from Istanbul to Hanover and the 11 refugees taken in by Finland. According to a spokesman from Germany's interior ministry, the Netherlands and France are also expecting the first group of quota refugees at the beginning of the week.

Does the agreement comply with international law?

The federal government of Germany maintains that the deportation of refugees from Greece will take place with "full regard for European and international laws," as asserted once again by government spokesman Steffen Seibert on Monday. But the agreement has also been harshly criticized. The German refugee organization Pro Asyl doubts Turkey's status as a safe third state and has accused Turkish authorities of sending refugees back to the Syrian war zone.

Pro Asyl believes that the deportations to Turkey violate the Geneva Refugee Convention. A former German government human rights representative, Markus Löning, shares this view. "I consider what is happening there incompatible with the European Human Rights Convention," he said in an interview on Monday. The current German human rights representative, Barbel Kofler, has also expressed doubts about the agreement.