Turkey Says No Deal if E.U. Does Not Fulfill Pledges

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses visiting police officers in Ankara, Turkey April 7, 2016, in this handout photo provided by the Presidential Palace. REUTERS/Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Palace/Handout via Reuters

Turkey will not go through with an agreement to take back Syrian migrants from Europe if the European Union does not fulfill its pledges, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday.  

The deal was not made to stop the Syrian migration into Europe – only to stop them from illegally crossing the Aegean Sea to enter Greece.   As previously reported by the NY Times, the deal with the European Union was outlined as follows:

  • Turkey to receive about $6.6 billion in aid to help organizations look after the migrants there.
  • Also promised is visa-free travel for Turkish citizens into most of Europe by this summer if Turkey meets certain conditions, and the resumption of negotiations with Turkey on membership into the European Union.
  • One-For-One Trade: The European Union will resettle one Syrian from a camp in Turkey in exchange for each Syrian who crossed the Aegean Sea to enter Greece illegally.

The deal reached on March 18, on returning migrants to Turkey, applies only to new migrants who have arrived in Greece and excludes those already there. European Union officials said that migrants who arrive on Greek islands after midnight on Saturday, March 19, would fall under the new rules. The migrants currently in Greece could eventually be moved to other parts of the European Union if they qualify for asylum.

NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, said, “The whole idea is to enable Turkey and Greece to get more control along the border and to discourage illegal dangerous border crossings and to cut the lines of the human smugglers. And, to encourage more legal and organized migration.”



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