EU agrees refugee 'action plan' with Turkey

European Council President Donald Tusk says EU agrees on ‘action plan’ with Turkey to stop influx of refugees passing through Turkey to enter Europe

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

European Council President Donald Tusk

The European Union has offered Turkey almost 3 billion in aid, easier travel visas along with “re-energised” talks over joining the EU. In return,  the EU asks for Turkey’s help to stop the flow of refugees and they also agreed on border control to slow the influx of refugees.

The European Council President, Donald Tusk said that "our intensified meetings with Turkish leaders ... in the last couple of weeks were devoted to one goal: stemming the migratory flows that go via Turkey to the EU. The action plan is a major step in this direction."

After the meeting ended, formal conclusions were agreed. Turkey was offered a precipitated path to give its citizens visa-free travel into EU countries. However, the progress would depend on Ankara proving assistance to slow the flow of refugees into Europe and would be reviewed next spring.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit Turkey just two weeks ahead of the Turkish national elections on November 1. She has said that Europe’s effort to filter and process refugees would not work without Turkey’s cooperation.

Although the recent refugee flow is centralised on Syrian's fleeing from the bloody war which has cause the death of over 250,000 people, French President Francois Hollande stressed other nationals like Pakistani and Afghans are also using Turkey to enter Europe.

Hollande said that Turkey’s visa-free access would not be that easy and the conditions must first be met. Turkey needs to first stop granting such easy entry to Pakistanis, Afghans and other countries that would likely pass through to gain access to EU countries.

Turkey also expects European Union members to extradite PKK members who live in various EU states. Although the EU recognises PKK as a terrorist organisation, many EU states have been safe havens for members of PKK terrorists.

Turkey has consistently asked European states for further measures to both stop the flow of PKK members and their financial resources.

Turkey has spent more than €6.75 billion of its own resources on the refugees whose number has exceeded 2.2 million people, the European Commission said in a statement released on its website that the main object is to assist Turkey in managing the situation of the massive influx of refugees and preventing uncontrolled migratory flow from Turkey to the EU.

TRTWorld and agencies