Migrants Will Be Returned to Turkey Under New EU Deal
Human rights groups warn the deal will increase the suffering of migrants
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2016 1:18 PM CDT
A migrant with a baby rests on railway tracks at the northern Greek border. EU leaders agreed Friday on a plan to send tens of thousands of migrants back to Turkey.   (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)

(Newser) – The migrant crisis in Europe will enter a new chapter Sunday after the EU and Turkish government agreed Friday to return all migrants and refugees attempting to enter Europe to Turkey, the Washington Post reports. It adds that the deal essentially "turns Turkey into the region's refugee camp." In return, Turkey will get $6.6 billion, quicker hearings on possible EU membership, and the possibility of visa-free travel throughout the EU. According to the Wall Street Journal, EU countries will take one legally processed Syrian refugee—up to 72,000—from Turkey for every refugee returned attempting to enter Greece. EU leaders say they want to stop the "human suffering" of migrants who are paying smugglers to get them from Turkey to Greece by sea. More than 350 migrants and refugees have died making the trip this year.

Critics of the deal, including many human rights groups, say it will only increase the suffering of migrants, as well as possibly violating both EU and international laws. Turkey doesn't hold to the Geneva Convention when it comes to refugees. “Turkey itself is a human-rights-abusing country,” the director of Human Rights Watch in Germany tells the Post. "Parts of Turkey are now like a war zone. How does this make Turkey an appropriate country to manage refugees?” In order for the deal to be lawful, Greece will have to offer individual hearings for any migrants who continue to make it that far, which will require a lot of manpower, Reuters reports. Approximately 1 million migrants and refugees came to Europe through Turkey and Greece in 2015.