EU Actions Regarding the Principle of Non-Refoulement of Asylum Seekers in Light of EU-Turkey Agreement

Document Type : Original Article


Abstract: Non-Refoulement is one of the most basic rights known for asylum seekers, which means that no asylum seeker should be returned to the country where there is a reasonable fear that the person would be harassed. This principle, which is non-violable and a jus cogent rule, is mentioned in many international instruments, and many countries respect this right; the European Union, both due to the accession of all its members to the international instruments accepting non-refoulement and because of its own instruments, is obliged to adhere to such a principle. However, in practice and when confronted with the flood of Syrian asylum seekers, the EU has entered into an agreement with Turkey and, based on the first paragraph of the treaty, EU returns all Syrian asylum seekers to Turkey, assuming Article 38 of the instruction on admission conditions as the legal basis for its action. However, since Turkey is not considered a safe place for asylum seekers, Article 38 of the instruction does not apply to it; consequently, the right to non-Refoulement of asylum seekers is violated by this agreement.