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Greek Council of State: Preliminary questions regarding Turkey as a safe third country

The Plenary of the Council of State with its decision published on Friday 3/2/2023 (Council of State 177/2023) formulates preliminary questions to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) regarding the national list (KYA [Joint Ministerial Decision] 458568/15-12-2021 FEK [Government Gazette] Β΄2425/17-12-2021), which includes Turkey as a safe third country, for asylum seekers whose applications are rejected as inadmissible.

This decision was issued following a request for annulment by the Greek Council for Refugees (GRC) and the organization RSA – Refugee Support Aegean against the above Joint Ministerial Decision, which designated Turkey as a safe third country for asylum seekers originating from Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Specifically, the Council of State submits questions to the CJEU regarding the influence on the legality of the national list of the fact that, for a long period of time (over 20 months), Turkey refuses the readmission of applicants for international protection, while at the same time it is not clear whether the possibility of a change in Turkey’s attitude in the near future has been taken into account.

It must be reminded that the above Joint Ministerial Decision:

– was enacted as the culmination of a policy of denying protection to refugees entering Greece from Turkey, initiated by the EU-Turkey Joint Declaration in March 2016,

– has led to summary rejections of applications for international protection, leading to thousands of refugees being deprived of any protection, while they cannot even be returned to Turkey, as readmissions to Turkey have stopped since March 2020, and

– has placed the applicants in the status of undocumented immigrants, in conditions of social exclusion, economic exhaustion, homelessness, with the risk of even prolonged detention in our country.

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