With the last holdout, Cyprus, signing off today, Turkey and the European Union have agreed to a broad refugee-swapping deal designed to prevent the people currently trying to get to Europe from remaining there, by trading them for refugees already in Turkey.
Under the deal, the EU agrees to take one Syrian refugee from Turkey in trade for every Syrian refugee they send to Turkey who arrives in Greece, with the idea being that it will keep people from trying to get to Greece since it’s a one-way ticket to Turkey.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was the main advocate for he deal, but conceded that there were going to be “big legal challenges” to the plan, with Turkey’s atrocious human rights record likely a major stumbling block.
The deal also includes more money for Turkey, and an agreement to revive Turkey’s long-stalled European Union membership bid, which is likely to be wildly controversial at a time when the Erdogan government is shutting down private media and threatening to arrest opposition MPs as terrorists for criticizing their policies.
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