News World Erdogan to seek more EU help for refugees stuck in Turkey

Erdogan to seek more EU help for refugees stuck in Turkey

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will seek European financial, political and military support in talks on Monday with EU and NATO leaders but will be told he must first stop encouraging migrants to cross his country’s borders into Greece.

Tens of thousands of migrants have been trying to get into Greece, an EU member state, since Ankara said on Feb. 28 it would no longer try to keep them on its territory as agreed in a 2016 deal in return for billions of euros in aid for refugees.

Turkey hosts some 3.6 million refugees from Syria, where its troops are facing off against Russian-backed Syrian government forces. Erdogan repeated his criticism on Sunday that the EU had failed to provide sufficient help for the refugees.

“The events at the Greek-Turkish border clearly point to politically motivated pressure on the EU’s external border,” the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said ahead of her talks with Erdogan in Brussels on Monday evening.

“Finding a solution to this situation will require relieving the pressure that is put on the border,” she told a news conference.

The EU is keen to avoid a repeat of the 2015-2016 migrant crisis, when more than one million people, mostly from the Middle East and Asia, reached the EU via Turkey and Greece.

That flow was largely halted by the 2016 deal, which the EU hopes to salvage, though Turkey now fears a new influx of refugees following an upsurge in fighting in Syria.

The EU says it has so far paid about half of a promised 6 billion euros to help Turkey finance housing, schools and medical centres for the refugees on its soil. It has dangled the prospect of further aid, but has yet to deliver.

PRECONDITION

“A precondition for any additional EU help should be to stop all support to illegal border crossings and move people away from the border,” a German conservative member of the European Parliament, Manfred Weber, said on Monday.

The 2016 accord had also envisaged the EU taking in thousands of Syrian refugees directly from Turkey, rewarding Turks with visa-free travel to the bloc and faster progress in EU membership talks.

But ties between the two soured following a botched coup against Erdogan in July 2016. The EU criticised the scale of Erdogan’s post-coup crackdown on dissent and has effectively frozen Turkey’s long-stalled bid to join the bloc.

Turkey, which is a NATO member, wants more European support in Syria, where it aims to build settlements for the refugees.

“Turkey has requested a political exchange with the EU, dialogue to put all things on the table. We can do that, but not under pressure,” an EU diplomat said.

Erdogan will meet NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at 1530 GMT and then later the EU Commission’s von der Leyen and the chairman of the bloc’s national leaders, Charles Michel.

(Reuters)

Top Stories

Schools close only if we say so, Prodromou notes

  Five hundred pupils have missed classes due to the Covid-19 pandemic, said education minister Prodromos Prodromou, making clear that there was no need for...

Famagusta hospital Covid patients rise to 24, four in increased care

  The number of Covid 19 patients being treated at the Famagusta General, the referral hospital for coronavirus, remained at 24, (22 yesterday) four of...

Turkish VP Octay illegally visits fenced off city of Varosha

  Turkish Vice President Fuat Octay walked along the beachfront of the fenced off city of Varosha today, part of which was illegally opened earlier...

18 people given preferential citizenships in casino resort, says Auditor General

  The Auditor General's Office has accused the government of bending the rules on the citizenships for investment programme, by granting passports outside the framework...

Kakoratzia state forest fire put out before spreading

  A fast forest fire service response prevented a potentially destructive fire from spreading this morning. It broke out at the Falkonopetra area of the Kakoratzia...

Taste

Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...

Mezedes

No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...