Friday

1st Jul 2022

Turkey says eight IS suspects posed as refugees

  • Turkey is hosting over 2 million refugees (Photo: svenwerk)

Turkey has detained eight suspected Islamic State fighters it says posed as refugees, amid broader moves by the EU to get Ankara to contain Syrian asylum seekers.

None of the Paris attackers were refugees and the eight Moroccans detained in Turkey say it is a case of mistaken identity.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The International Organisation for Migration and the UNHCR also report that, to date, there has not been a single proven case of terrorists infiltrating migrant flows to Europe

But the announcement from Ankara is likely to stoke fears among some member states, which oppose EU asylum relocation plans.

The Islamic State itself is also said to want Western leaders to link terrorism with refugees to stem the flow to the EU because the Syrian exodus is seen as undermining its so-called caliphate.

Both Hungary and Slovakia are now seeking to challenge the EU relocation plan at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International, in a report out earlier this week, described cases of people fleeing war being turned around in Greece and Bulgaria and sent back into Turkey in contravention to EU and international laws.

The human rights organisation also said Turkey is “detaining intercepted migrants and asylum-seekers without access to lawyers and forcibly returning refugees to Syria and Iraq, in clear violation of international law”.

But the EU, for its part, is pushing ahead with plans to finalise a migrant deal with Turkey in exchange for money, visa liberalisation, and accelerated talks on EU membership.

The EU agreed early October to an EU-Turkey joint action plan but still needs to shore up some €3 billion.

In an interview with Reuters, EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn said the EU wants “a fresh start in our relationship with Turkey."

Hahn was speaking of an upcoming EU-Turkey summit. The plan is to give Turkey €3 billion to contain the some 2.2 million Syrian refugees it hosts.

"Such a summit is a good opportunity to announce a deal. I still expect this before Christmas," he said.

In related developments, Greece and Turkey on Wednesday announced they would set up new posts in their respective embassies to host coast guard attaches.

Some 690,000 people have entered Greece to seek international protection since the start of the year.

The vast majority take a boat from Turkey to reach the nearby Greek islands in the Aegean sea.

Turkey’s prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu, speaking alongside his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras, said any solution to the refugee crisis must be found in Syria.

Davutoglu also noted that greater efforts would be made to reunify Cyprus.

The island-nation has been split in two since Turkey’s 1974 invasion.

“There is a window of opportunity right now over the Cyprus issue. The negotiations are going on. We have a common approach with Greece to contribute positively to the talks,” said Davutoglu.

Opinion

EU needs US-type refugee screening

The US system for security screening of migrants is said to be too tough. But unless the EU system gets tougher, it will only feed populist fears.

MEPs boycott awards over controversial sponsorship

Two MEPs have withdrawn their nominations from the MEPs Awards over the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis's participation as a sponsor — currently involved in an alleged bribery scandal in Greece.

EU Parliament interpreters stage strike

Interpreters at the European Parliament are fed up with remote interpretation, citing auditory health issues given the poor quality of the online sessions.

Opinion

The euro — who's next?

Bulgaria's target date for joining the eurozone, 1 January 2024, seems elusive. The collapse of Kiril Petkov's government, likely fresh elections, with populists trying to score cheap points against the 'diktat of the eurocrats', might well delay accession.

News in Brief

  1. Poland still failing to meet EU judicial criteria
  2. Report: Polish president fishing for UN job
  3. Auditors raise alarm on EU Commission use of consultants
  4. Kaliningrad talks needed with Russia, says Polish PM
  5. Report: EU to curb state-backed foreign takeovers
  6. EU announces trade deal with New Zealand
  7. Russia threatens Norway over goods transit
  8. Russia urges Nato not to build bases in Sweden, Finland

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  3. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  5. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBHow price increases affect construction workers

Latest News

  1. Covid-profiting super rich should fight hunger, says UN food chief
  2. EU pollution and cancer — it doesn't have to be this way
  3. Israel smeared Palestinian activists, EU admits
  4. MEPs boycott awards over controversial sponsorship
  5. If Russia collapses — which states will break away?
  6. EU Parliament interpreters stage strike
  7. EU's post-Covid billions flowing into black hole
  8. Nato expands and reinforces on Russian flank

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us