Italy currently has encountered with an enormous refugee trafficking and illegal immigration into its territorial waters through the route of Mediterranean Sea. In 2016, 360.000 refugees crossed the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy. The Central Mediterranean Route is so convenient for human trafficking owing to the failed state status of Libya. The lack of authority makes Libya a catastrophic region suitable for broad criminal networks. Now, trends show that the number of refugees will increase due to the inefficiency of the Aegean Sea and the failed state status of Libya. Five months ago, Bosphorus Migration Studies offers an urgent plan includes that NATO patrol should be conducted at the Mediterranean Sea rather than the Aegean Sea. However, how it can be possible to gain a success at the Mediterranean Sea like gaining at the Aegean Sea?


NATO mediterranean ile ilgili görsel sonucu
A Navy Operation in the Mediterranean / Wikipedia Commons

Now, the refugee route to Europe through Aegean Sea was prevented by Turkish Authorities busy schedule derived from the Readmission Agreement between Turkey and the EU. NATO delegation of Turkey claimed that the NATO operations (SMNG-2) was operationalized for improved to the relationship between NATO and Europe. In that case, is Italy not deserve to the attention of Europe such as Greece?

Italy has encountered with an enormous number of refugee within its territorial waters and it triggers with the idea of violation of international law and the value of European Union boisterously. Asylum and border policy of Europe inconvenience the refugee burden of Italy at a large extent. Closed Border policy of north neighbor of Italy legitimizes the idea of closed port policy for boats having not an Italian flag to prevent refugee flow. The geographic location of Italy makes itself the main point for arrival to Europe in recent years, and trends show that more refugees will maintain this perilous journey.

The problem of Italy consists of two main problems within the EU; violation of international law, the EU values. If the burden of Italy will not be shared by its European partners, the risks of violation of abovementioned phenomenon would reach an intolerable level for the EU and the other partners.

Italy expects to see the fulfillment of resettlement mechanism in order to reduce its refugee burden.  EU Commissioner for Migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said that “Italy is right that the situation is untenable along the Central Mediterranean route” adding that other EU members are of the same mind and that the union is always ready to increase financial assistance to help Italy manage the flows. However, the EU is still making the same mistake that only financialize the country and then left it alone with its radicals and domestic problems. Also, we have to underline that refugee crisis in Italy could not be regarded as a domestic issue. It is and will be the main problem of the bloc at least next 25 years. The resettlement policy of EU could guarantee the burden of front countries such as Italy and Greece, however, resettlement policy is not the ultimate solution because it is not a tool to use for preventing the migration through Mediterranean route. Also, Italian Prime Minister Paolo, craved other EU countries to stop ignoring the burden of Italy.

Nonetheless to say that the burden of Italy and the EU is at the enormous level and to save the security of Mediterranean base from illegal migration the EU should invite NATO-SMNG to the rescue rather than making oppression NGO’s rescue operation at the international waters. Operations at the Aegean Sea should be regarded as a mutual cooperation between Turkey and Greece that are members of the same alliance. The Aegean Sea is spanned by two prime NATO members who are equipped with structural and fundamental institutions capable of dealing with the humanitarian crisis. The partnership between Turkey and Greece in ensuring stability and security over the  Aegean Sea could maintain its function with the sufficient level of attention; however,  the Mediterranean Sea does not have the same level of cooperation in the combat against illegal immigration. On top of this, failed states in Africa have facilitated some of the aforementioned illegal crossings. NATO and the EU should give their attention to the Mediterranean Sea.

SMNG operations at the Med is not an only key solution for reduced the burden of front states, also, the south members of EU have to open their ports to refugee boats and NGO’s boats to share the responsibilities and the risks of Italy. Actually, the risks and burden must be regionalized by south members and the NATO can help the coordination and organize the operations at Med only in that way.