The Netherlands suspends reception of Syrian migrants from Turkey
The Dutch government announced that it will temporarily stop taking asylum seekers under an agreement between the European Union and Turkey.
The measure to pause reception of over 1,000 refugees per year from camps in Turkey will apply through 2023 and be re-evaluated in July of next year, Eric van der Burg, the state secretary in charge of asylum policy, said.
Gerald Knaus, known as the architect of the EU-Turkish deal, criticized the decision, pointing out that the Netherlands actually takes in far fewer refugees than other EU countries.
He called the government's decision "symbolic politics", and "not very constructive," because the numbers of refugees in question are limited.
"There is absolutely no question of an emergency, so it is a mystery to me why there is suddenly a crisis in the Netherlands," he said.
Turkish state news agency AA cited the Dutch Justice and Security Ministry saying that the Netherlands already admitted "a relatively large number of Syrians" since 2016 under the EU-Turkish readmission agreement.
According to the agreement dated March 2016, Ankara is supposed to readmit all irregular asylum-seekers who have reached the Greek islands from Turkey, in exchange for the EU members agreeing to resettle Syrian refugees from Turkey.
"The Dutch government continues to consider these agreements important and will also start implementing them again from 2024. But in the current situation that is irresponsible," the Justice and Security Ministry added.