One year on from the EU-Turkey deal: challenging the EU’s alternative facts

One year ago, the ‘Balkan route’ – by which refugees, asylum seekers and migrants travelled from Greece to northern Europe – was closed. This route had constituted the only hope for thousands of people seeking protection in Europe. In the wake of this, on 18 March 2016 the European Union (EU) and Turkey issued the EU-Turkey statement, commonly referred to as the EU-Turkey deal. This deal aimed at stemming arrivals of asylum seekers and migrants from Turkey to Europe, and allegedly offered “migrants an alternative to putting their lives at risk”. Nine months later, the deal was reinforced with a joint action plan, a two-page document setting out further action to be taken.