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Rishi Sunak suffers blow about returning migrants from Turkiye

February 2, 2024 at 8:32 pm

Migrants packed tightly onto a small inflatable boat attempt to cross the English Channel near the Dover Strait, the world’s busiest shipping lane, on September 07, 2020 off the coast of Dover, England [Luke Dray/Getty Images]

The UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak’s pledge to halt boats carrying migrants across the English Channel is under threat, once again, as the Home Office is said to have concerns about Turkiye being a safe country, local British media reports.

According to the report, the decision puts the Prime Minister’s hope of striking a returns deal with Ankara in jeopardy.

Turkiye is “over-zealous” in its anti-terrorism laws and has unfair trials. There are also allegations of torture in the judicial system, the official says.

Three thousand Turkish nationals arrived by small boat to the UK last year, the third largest nationality and more than double the number from the previous year.

Former Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, has called the Home Office’s decision “very concerning”.

Posting on X, she said:

“As Home Secretary I worked up proposals to list Turkiye as a safe country [sic], a member of the Council of Europe, a NATO ally and a Candidate country for EU accession. The government should re-think this decision.”

READ: Needed but not welcome: The importance of migrants in society