Western organizations call for Turkey to no longer be designation as safe country for refugees

ANKARA — While Turkey moves forward with its plans to forcibly deport Syrian refugees back to Syria, European organizations have called for canceling Turkey’s classification as a safe country for refugees.

Syrians deported from Turkey are likely to settle along the border in areas under the occupation of Turkey and the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA), further worsening the demographic changes. According to the administration of Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing, some 1,303 Syrians — men, women, and children — were deported from Turkey in the past month.

Over the course of the year, Turkey has reportedly deported over 16,000 people.

European civil society organizations are now demanding that Greece no longer view Turkey as safe to return refugees.

A letter signed by 16 NGOs said that Turkey is in violation of international law when it comes to asylum. 

Sent to the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum, with a copy sent to the European Commission, the letter further notes that Turkey no longer grants temporary protection status to Syrian refugees.

The organizations also noted that a European Commission report issued last month showed that Turkey does not meet the criteria stipulated by the asylum law and can no longer be designated as a safe country for refugees.

Among the organizations that signed the call are the Danish and Greek Refugee Councils, the International Rescue Committee, and the Youth Social Support Association.