UK and Turkey forge agreement to 'tackle' influx of unauthorized immigrants

The UK and Turkey have unveiled a pact to lessen the movement of undocumented migrants through the Mediterranean route to Europe, featuring coordinated police actions against human trafficking networks.

Reuters & Duvar English

Britain said it had struck a deal with Turkey in a bid to slow the flow of illegal immigrants passing through the Mediterranean country on their way to Europe, including joint police operations against smuggler rings and the trade in boat parts.

With the issue of illegal migration high on the political agenda in Britain ahead of an expected election next year, the government said it would support a new Turkish police centre that would build on existing cooperation over law enforcement.

Customs data would be exchanged more quickly under the new memorandum of understanding, the British government said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Our partnership with Turkey, a close friend and ally, will enable our law enforcement agencies to work together on this international problem and tackle the small boat supply chain," interior minister Suella Braverman said.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made cutting the numbers of illegal migrants arriving in Britain a key pledge for this year as he tried to narrow the wide lead of the opposition Labour Party in opinion polls.

This week, Britain began moving some migrants on to a large residential barge on its southern coast, part of plans remove what the government called the "pull" of hotels for those arriving on the country's shores in small boats.

The UK government paid Turkey £3 million last year to prevent refugees from crossing into Europe. According to reporting of the Guardian, this amount was £14,000 in 2019.

The daily noted the increase in the amount given to the Turkish police and coast guard for maritime border security training coming from the official development aid. In addition to the funding, the UK government also provided equipment and training support to Turkish border forces.

Turkey has been doing push backs with extreme violence and force, especially along its eastern and southeastern borders.

Mary Atkinson of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Migrants said that the UK government was "secretly funding other countries to do its dirty work."