24 February 2016
Istanbul CGC/ESI event: How Germany and Turkey can save liberal Europe and the EU debate on refugees
Photo: ESI
Photo: ESI

ESI's Gerald Knaus spoke at an event in Istanbul organised by Columbia Global Centers and ESI.

The Syrian refugee crisis is putting a huge strain on Turkey, the Balkans and some countries in the EU. While Germany welcomes Syrian refugees, other EU countries refuse to accept any. Throughout the EU, right-wing parties prejudiced against Muslims are gaining support. The EU has proposed many solutions which so far have failed to make any difference.

What can be done? Which proposals stand any chance of making a difference? What role can Turkey play? How does the deterioration of the situation in Syria impact on the European refugee debate? And how to stop people from drowning in the Aegean?

ESI has argued since September that Turkey, Germany and Greece hold the key to any solution. This crisis will either destroy the international asylum system as we know it or mark a step forward towards a more just a regime to deal with asylum. It may mark the decline of human rights values in the EU or see them reaffirmed in the face of resistance.

Full list of all international media reactions

In recent months ESI presented its proposal across Europe:
Berlin – Brussels – Moscow – Stockholm – Vienna – Warsaw – Ankara/Istanbul – Sofia
The Hague – ParisBerlinWashington DCAthensMunich

ESI's work on visa liberalisation and EU-Turkey relations is supported by
Stiftung Mercator

About us
Photo credits
Alan Grant is an Irish photographer who travelled extensively in the Balkans and other countries and regions of the world. Thanks to him, ESI is able to show fascinating pictures of the Balkans: the facades of Tirana, the painted mosques of Travnik, the fabulous old houses of Plovdiv and the spectacular blue of water - dark in the Bay of Kotor, emerald in the river valleys of Bosnia, deep blue in Ohrid, twinkling in the Aegean Sea and on the Bosporus.

You can find out more about Alan Grant on his websites:
Jonathan Lewis lives between London and Istanbul. He moved to London and spent many years studying photography and now specialises in photojournalism, documentary photography and commercial work for a wide variety of private and commercial clients in the UK, Europe and Turkey. His work has appeared in a number of magazines and publications and is used on the ESI website as well.

You can find out more about Jonathan Lewis on his website www.jonathanlewisphoto.com