According to Reuters, concern is being expressed by the UN and by humanitarian organisations as to whether Turkey is a safe country for returnees. Furthermore, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is currently unable to obtain access to the Kirklareli camp where they are being sheltered.

In addition, the UN World Food Programme has expressed concern about the situation of the Syrian refugees in Turkey, indicating that 90% of them are living outside official accommodation. Many of them are unemployed and are surviving in makeshift shelters that are at times feared to be sources infection and epidemics.

In view of this:
1.     Can the Commission say how it is ensuring compliance by Turkey with the provisions of the agreement concerning food and hygiene?
2.     Is it aware of the conditions in Kirklareli camp?
3.     Does it know whether those returned to Turkey are living in refugee camps or in makeshift shelters?

Answer given by Mr Hahn on behalf of the Commission

As documented in the Second Report on the progress made in the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement(1), Greece and Turkey have both taken a number of legislative and administrative steps to ensure full respect of EU and international law in implementing the EU-Turkey Statement(2). In this context, Turkey has agreed to allow the EU to monitor regularly the situation of Syrians and non-Syrians returned to Turkey, including access to refugee camps and centres, and has concluded an agreement with UNHCR(3) to provide access to removal centres to monitor implementation of international protection procedures. The first visits to these camps and removal centres have taken place and the EU Delegation to Turkey visited Kirklareli camp on 4 May 2016.

Through the Facility for Refugees in Turkey(4), a special measure worth EUR 60 million will cover the costs of food, accommodation and healthcare for returnees in Turkey for a six-month period. Through IPA(5), the EU has co-financed the establishment of reception and removal centres. The purpose of the EU assistance is to improve Turkey's capacity to host a growing number of irregular migrants in decent conditions.

When providing financial assistance, the EU Delegation is systematically involved in various monitoring activities on the ground, including bilateral exchanges, participation in project steering committee meetings, conducting monitoring visits and on the spot checks. The EU Delegation also regularly exchanges information with the Turkish authorities and systematically holds meetings with competent authorities involved in financial cooperation. The EU Delegation further uses external monitoring mechanisms so as to monitor implementation of financial assistance.

(1) COM(2016)0349 final, 15.6.2016, p.5.
(3) UN Refugee Agency.
(4) Commission Decision No C(2016)0855 final on the Facility for Refugees in Turkey amending Commission Decision No C(2015)9500 final of 24.11.2015.
(5) Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance.