Turkey’s six-billion-euro deal with the European Union has seen the country take back just 801 migrants, while 2,672 have been transferred to the already overfilled continent.
The contentious arrangements are estimated to cost UK taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds, and were supposed to ease the burden on other EU member states, especially Greece, where the huge migrant influx has left the Hellenic Republic close to ruin.
The scheme was originally set up to see an equal number of migrants transferred between the EU and Turkey, however more than three times as many have been sent to Europe as have been returned to the Eurasian Republic.
Although there was an initial drop in the number of illegal migrants crossing from Turkey, numbers have risen sharply again ever since a failed coup against Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the republic’s Islamist president.
Even with the Turkish agreement in place, people-smugglers have refocused their operations via Libya, with record numbers crossing the Mediterranean in 2016 and Austrian intelligence services predict that as many as 15 million migrants could be preparing to make the crossing by this route.
The president has been at war with Brussels ever since his post putsch crackdown turned into a purge, with thousands of judicial officials, academics and political opponents imprisoned or sacked from their posts.
Criticism of this so-called NATO ally, has been, as usual, kept very quiet in the mainstream media, but the dictatorial measures have made it virtually impossible to advance politically controversial plans for the country to be admitted to the EU as a full member, much to Erdoğan’s fury.
This is coming from a dictator who has shot down a Russian warplane, invaded Syria and risked war with Iraq in recent months, and is now threatening to ‘open the gates’ and sink the deal entirely if his demands for visa-free travel and EU accession talks are not met.