The European Union has agreed to give Turkey more than $3.1 billion in exchange for tighter border controls and a crackdown on illegal migrant traffickers. The deal came at a summit in Brussels, the first such meeting between the two sides in 11 years.
CCTV America’s Jack Parrock reports.
Turkey plays host to more than two million asylum seekers, mainly people displaced by the Syrian conflict. The European Union is concerned that worsening conditions in Turkish camps will push those living in them to make their way towards countries like Germany, Austria, and Sweden.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davatoglu attended the summit with the 28 leaders of the EU countries and said the money would be well spent.
“This 3 billion euros is not given to Turkey, it is given to Syrian refugees and it is the main philosophy here is burden sharing,” Davatoglu said.
The money is to be used for schools, accommodation, and healthcare to support the refugees and for Turkey to coordinate and register asylum seekers as they arrive and depart.
“But we expect major step towards changing the rules of the game when it comes to stemming the migration flow that is coming to the EU via Turkey,” European Council President Donald Tusk said.
The European Union insists this isn’t simply outsourcing their problem to Turkey but rather engaging with Ankara to find a resolution to the crisis which involves both sides cooperating fully.
In exchange for that cooperation, the EU has been persuaded to kickstart the talks on Turkey’s EU membership, which have been at a standstill for a number of years.
There are already questions, however, on whether the money going to Turkey will be enough.
“Considering Turkey already paid 8 billion, 3 billion euro is nothing,” Orhan Dede of the European Policy Center said. “And there is no end to this situation. We don’t know how long this will last.”
The Turkish government also won EU agreement to discuss a visa waiver system for its citizens.
While the political discussions continue between the countries affected by the refugee and migration crisis, the situation for asylum seekers is worsening as winter sets in.