Expert opinion on why Turkey cannot be considered as a ‘safe third country’

The extended scope and application of the ‘safe third country’ concept is an essential component of the EU’s ‘New Pact on Migration and Asylum’ and the reform of the Common European Asylum System. The ‘safe third country’ concept, in practice, allows asylum applications of people who have travelled through such a ‘safe third country’ to be deemed inadmissible. In other words, their asylum claims will not be considered. Making use of declaring a third country as ‘safe’ to effectively preclude ‘exilees’ from accessing the European asylum system is, however, not new.

The 2016 EU-Turkey statement postulated that Turkey can be qualified as a ‘safe third country’ in accordance with Article 38 of the EU’s Asylum Procedures Directive laying the basis for the return of any third-country citizen arriving on a Greek island back to Turkey. A new expert opinion now shows that this classification was then and is today a political decision rather than the conclusion of an on-the-ground assessment centering the lived experience of ‘exilees’ in Turkey. This expert opinion is the result of an extended collaboration between ELDH, ÇHD and ÖHD, and is based on a third party intervention ELDH, ÇHD and ÖHD submitted together with EDL to the European Court of Human Rights in July 2022. Finally, the present expert opinion was published by medico international (Germany):