The Contracting Parties take note of the close links between the Union and Iceland and Norway, in particular by virtue of the Agreement of 18 May 1999 on the association of those countries with the implementation, application and development of the Schengen acquis. In those circumstances, Turkey should conclude a readmission agreement with Iceland and Norway under the same conditions as this Agreement. The legal framework for the Declaration on Returns was the bilateral readmission protocol concluded in 2002 between Turkey and Greece. (5) However, the Parties have not completed the legal procedure to promote the applicability of the provisions of the 2014 EU-Turkey Readmission Agreement on the readmission of third-country nationals by 1 June 2016. This omission has made the Protocol between Greece and Turkey the only legal basis for the implementation of the readmission provisions of the EU-Turkey Statement. Although the agreement provided that the provisions on third-country nationals would enter into force before 1 October 2017, the European Commission indicated in its 2018 report on Turkey that Turkey had not implemented the agreement citing the EU`s failure to take the necessary measures for visa liberalisation. (6) However, that Commission report also found that the implementation of the Protocol between Turkey and Greece has also deteriorated. (7) The Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, also stated that this Protocol, which constitutes the legal basis for the implementation of readmissions on the basis of the declaration, has been suspended. (8) On 22 July 2019, Celavuşoğlu announced that Turkey had suspended the readmission agreement due to the failure of the EU to conclude the visa liberalisation procedure for Turkish citizens. (9) Although it is not clear whether Çavuşoğlu referred to the official suspension of the 2014 readmission agreement or the suspension of the 2016 declaration, that statement should be interpreted as a sign that Turkey does not intend to be bound by an agreement on the readmission of union third-country nationals. On the other hand, it should be noted that, on the basis of the EU-Turkey Statement, readmissions continued after Lavuşoğlu`s first announcement of the suspension of the Greece-Turkey Protocol, as confirmed by several sources, including the European Commission`s report on Turkey in 2018, “migration statistics” and field studies published by the Directorate-General for Migration Management.
(10) (11) Several points of contention were raised, both as regards the number of persons repatriated to Turkey and the number of persons reintegrated by the EU under the 1:1 regime. . . .