Europe

Amnesty tells EU to halt 'illegal' refugee returns to Turkey

  • In this Thursday, June 2, 2016 photo, Mohammed, 10, a Syrian refugee child from Aleppo, works with other Syrians at a clothes workshop in Gaziantep, southeastern Turkey. Mohammed, whose father was killed in Syria, works 10-hours a day for about 100 Turkish Liras a week, (some 38 US dollars / 30 euros) to support him and his mother living now in Turkey. Turkey is hosting 3 million refugees and is expected to receive more, although the human rights group Amnesty International on Friday, June 3, 2016, urged the European Union to stop plans to return asylum-seekers to Turkey. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    In this Thursday, June 2, 2016 photo, Mohammed, 10, a Syrian refugee child from Aleppo, works with other Syrians at a clothes workshop in Gaziantep, southeastern Turkey. Mohammed, whose father was killed in Syria, works 10-hours a day for about 100 Turkish Liras a week, (some 38 US dollars / 30 euros) to support him and his mother living now in Turkey. Turkey is hosting 3 million refugees and is expected to receive more, although the human rights group Amnesty International on Friday, June 3, 2016, urged the European Union to stop plans to return asylum-seekers to Turkey. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Thursday, June 2, 2016 photo, Syrian refugees, including children, work at a clothes workshop in Gaziantep, southeastern Turkey.  Turkey is currently hosting some 3 million refugees, and is expected to receive more but Amnesty International on Friday, June 6, 2016, has urged the European Union to stop plans to return asylum-seekers to Turkey, saying the EU-Turkey deal to curb irregular migration was "illegal" and "reckless". (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    In this Thursday, June 2, 2016 photo, Syrian refugees, including children, work at a clothes workshop in Gaziantep, southeastern Turkey. Turkey is currently hosting some 3 million refugees, and is expected to receive more but Amnesty International on Friday, June 6, 2016, has urged the European Union to stop plans to return asylum-seekers to Turkey, saying the EU-Turkey deal to curb irregular migration was "illegal" and "reckless". (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Thursday, June 2, 2016 photo, Issa, 10, left, a Syrian refugee child from Aleppo, works with other Syrians at a clothing workshop in Gaziantep, southeastern Turkey. Issa, works 10-hours per day for about 100 Turkish Liras a week, (some 38 US dollars / 30 euros) to support him and his family. Turkey is currently hosting some 3 million refugees, and is expected to receive more but Amnesty International on Friday, June 3, 2016, has urged the European Union to stop plans to return asylum-seekers to Turkey. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

    In this Thursday, June 2, 2016 photo, Issa, 10, left, a Syrian refugee child from Aleppo, works with other Syrians at a clothing workshop in Gaziantep, southeastern Turkey. Issa, works 10-hours per day for about 100 Turkish Liras a week, (some 38 US dollars / 30 euros) to support him and his family. Turkey is currently hosting some 3 million refugees, and is expected to receive more but Amnesty International on Friday, June 3, 2016, has urged the European Union to stop plans to return asylum-seekers to Turkey. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)  (The Associated Press)

Amnesty International on Friday urged the European Union to stop plans to return asylum-seekers to Turkey.

The rights group issued a 35-page briefing saying the EU-Turkey deal to curb irregular migration was "illegal" and "reckless."

Turkey is hosting 3 million refugees, including 2.75 million Syrians, and expected to receive more as part of the deal with the EU. Under the agreement, irregular migrants who arrived to the Greek islands from Turkey after March 20 will be sent back to Turkey.

The EU, in turn, will resettle one Syrian refugee from Turkey to the bloc for each Syrian that Greece returns back to Turkey.

Turkey also stands to receive up to 6 billion euros ($6.71 billion), visa-free travel and fast track negotiations on EU accession.

The deal, according to Amnesty, is unlawful because asylum-seekers don't access "effective protection" in Turkey.

Amnesty argued that Turkey lacks the capacity to process asylum applications and falls short on key criteria to be deemed a "safe third country."

"In its relentless efforts to prevent irregular migrants to Europe, the EU has willfully misrepresented what is actually happening on the ground in Turkey," said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty's director for Europe and Central Asia.

Turkey, it noted, doesn't accord full refugee status, and most refugees in the country don't get government support.

The organization also repeated its assertion that Syrians in Turkey are at risk of being forcibly sent back to their war-torn nation. Turkish officials have rejected prior Amnesty International reports on the issue of forced returns.