Turkey threatens the EU over delaying the delivery of the refugee aid

EPA/KOCA SULEJMANOVIC

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that "If you [the EU and the international community in general] do not extend your hand to the refugees in Turkey or do not cooperate with Turkey, these people will come to you."

The 3 billion euro refugee aid agreed between the EU and Turkey hasn’t been delivered as Italy wants the money to come from the EU budget and not from the Member State’s budgets


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More refugees may hit EU’s door if the Union fails to give the €3 billion refugee aid promised to Turkey, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu indirectly said on Saturday.

Turkish daily, Daily Sabah, said that the Turkish Minister stressed that “If you [the EU and the international community in general] do not extend your hand to the refugees in Turkey or do not cooperate with Turkey, these people will come to you.”

Cavusoglu made the remarks during a visit to one of the refugee camps in southeastern Gaziantep province’s Nizip district. Then the Minister said: “Everyone knows what Syrians and Iraqis need. Everyone knows the opportunities that Turkey provided for them but they [international community] remain distant.”

Cavusolgu also said that the Turkish government, had so far spent more than $8 billion on refugees underlying that way that it deserves to receive the agreed EU refugee aid.

Italy’s involvement in the refugee aid

However, three days ago, EU diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity to DPA news agency saying that Italy is hampering the delivery of the EU refugee aid to Turkey. Due to the rumors, Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan, spoke to reporters and denied that his country was blocking the refugee aid.

“Italy is fully supportive of the initiative to provide Turkey with relevant resources to deal with the refugee issue,” he told journalists in Brussels, where he was attending a meeting of EU finance ministers on January 16.  However, he added that his country would like the €3 billion to come from the EU budget, rather than being requested from member states. “We are talking about huge money here,” Padoan acknolwedged.

The draft plan, regarding the EU refugee aid to Turkey, foresees that one third of the €3 billion should come from the EU budget and the remaining €2 billion from EU states.

Refugees arriving in the EU

Despite the EU agreement with Turkey over the halt of the refugee influx, weeks ago the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that migrant and refugee arrivals in Europe by sea averaged over 1,700 a day during the first 11 days of 2016.

IOM also reported in December, that the EU is counting on Ankara to stem the flow of refugees from Turkey to the EU, but there was little evidence of progress since Turkey signed the “action plan.”

Moreover, in December, Amnesty International reported that Turkish authorities are mistreating refugees and asylum seekers, sending them to remote detention centers and then deport them to Iraq and Syria.

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