Justice and home affairs in EU–Turkey relations

Mutual interests but much distrust

Authored by: Alexander Bürgin

The Routledge Handbook of Justice and Home Affairs Research

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138183759
eBook ISBN: 9781315645629
Adobe ISBN:


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Cooperation in justice and home affairs (JHA) is of mutual interest to the EU and Turkey. For the EU, cooperation is important because Turkey has become one of the main transit routes for irregular migration to the EU. In 2013 and 2014, arrivals to the EU directly from Turkey numbered 25,121 and 52,994 respectively. In 2015, this number increased almost sixteen-fold, to 888,457. Around 98 percent of irregular entries occurred via the Greek islands from the nearby Turkish Aegean coast, often facilitated by smugglers. The remaining 2 percent entered via Turkey’s land border with Greece and Bulgaria (European Commission 2016a: 79–80). In addition, cooperation is also important in the fight against organized crime and terrorism. For Turkey, in turn, this cooperation is important for burden-sharing reasons, since the country’s transformation from a migrant-sending country into a transit and immigration country (Içduygu 2011) has generated high costs. Up until October 2015 Turkey spent $8 billion on hosting almost three million Syrian refugees, of which international contributions comprise less than half a billion, with the EU’s share constituting only one-third of this sum (Kirişçi 2015). Consequently, Turkey has an interest in deeper cooperation with the EU.

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