Ending the Refugee Crisis: Geopolitical Challenges for Turkey-EU Relationship

14/03/2016 19:00

Geopolitical challenges for Turkey-EU relationship



Monday, March 14 2016, 7 p.m.


Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue, Armbrustergasse 15, 1190 Vienna

R.s.v.p.:  Tel.: 3188260/20 | e-mail: einladung.kreiskyforum@kreisky.org



Selim Yenel
Ambassador of Turkey at EU in Brussels

Gerald Knaus

President and Founder of European Stability Initiative ESI

Co-discussant and moderator:

Hannes Swoboda
President of IIP –International Institute for Peace and Member of Bruno Kreisky Forum Board


The situation on the European Union's external borders in the Eastern Mediterranean is out of control. In 2015, more than 500,000 migrants and refugees have reached the EU by sea, most of them via Greece. And the numbers keep rising. The vast majority of people arriving in Greece during this period were Syrians. They are all likely to be given refugee status in the EU if they reach it; in 2014, the recognition rate of Syrian asylum applications was above 95 percent. But to claim asylum in the EU, they need to undertake a perilous journey by land and sea.
With such numbers now on the move, the European Union cannot hope to prevent mass arrivals without the support of Turkey. But the notion that Turkey will employ heavy security measures to prevent the departure of Syrians, and take back those who reach Greece, while Europe stands by, is completely unrealistic. Short of a resolution to the Syrian conflict, what is needed now is a serious commitment to burden-sharing and solidarity. The only way this crisis can be resolved is with Turkish cooperation.