Exactly a year ago, the EU-Turkey deal came into force. The deal stipulates the return of individuals arriving irregularly by boat to Greece back to Turkey, in exchange for increased EU resettlement of Syrians from Turkey, large sums of aid to Turkey and the easing of EU visa restrictions for Turkish citizens.
However, the premise on which the deal was constructed – namely that Turkey is a safe place for refugees – was flawed. In the months following the deal, Greece’s asylum appeals committees ruled in many instances that Turkey does not provide effective protection for refugees.
Instead, all asylum applications had to be assessed in Greece and, refugees were brought together on the Greek islands in filthy and unsafe conditions.
On the Greek islands the harrowing human cost of the deal is laid bare. Not allowed to leave, thousands of asylum-seekers live in uncertainty.