The EU-Turkey refugee deal: multiple levels of international negotiation
Gülen, İrem Aybala
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In March 2016, the European Union (EU) and Turkey agreed on a deal which envisaged to put an end to the irregular crossings of Syrian refugees from Turkey to Europe. This thesis aims to explain two important puzzles regarding the deal. While almost all countries governed by right-wing populist political parties around the world adopt antiimmigrant policies, Turkey emerged as an anomaly in terms of being a top refugee hosting country and striking a deal which keeps the refugees within the country. At the same time, despite its obvious benefits for the EU, the EU did not hold up its own side of the deal and cooperation between two sides deteriorated in ensuing years. This study argues that Turkey aimed to use Syrian refugees as a leverage vis-a-vis the EU to obtain political, financial and normative concessions. Although the AKP government got the EU to accept its demands on paper, the EU could not keep its side of bargain as a result of simultaneous interaction within and between its multiple levels. In order to explain inability of the EU in delivering its promises, this study extends Putnam’s two-level game analysis to three-levels, and analyzes how the interplay of these levels affected the outcome of the deal.