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Turkey, EU Agree On A Deal To Stem Migrant Crisis

  • RFE/RL

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (left) smiles with European Council president Donald Tusk during a press conference at the end of a summit on relations between the European Union and Turkey and on the migrant crisis at the European Council in Brussels.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (left) smiles with European Council president Donald Tusk during a press conference at the end of a summit on relations between the European Union and Turkey and on the migrant crisis at the European Council in Brussels.

Turkey and the European Union have agreed on a deal to stem the flow of migrants towards Europe.

Under the deal, Turkey will receive a 3 billion euro ($3.2 billion) aid package for Syrian refugees in return for tightening its borders and keeping refugees in the country.

The EU will also revive talks on Turkey''s asccession to the EU.

"Our agreement sets out a clear plan for the timely reestablishment of order at our shared frontier. We will also step up our assistance to Syrian refugees in Turkey through a new refugee facility of three billion euros," European Council President Donald Tusk said at a news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Brussels.

Tusk also said that Turkey’s EU membership drive should make quick progress.

"We agreed that [Turkey's] accession process needs to be reenergised," Tusk said.

Davutoglu said that "Turkish membership will be an asset" and said that "no disagreements emerged" during the four-hour summit.

The EU money is meant to improve the livelihood of the 2.2. million Syrians now living in Turkey, so that they will be less likely to want to leave for Europe.

French President Francois Hollande said the funds of the EU package will be released gradually as Turkish commitments are checked.

Speaking to reporters at the end of the summit, Davutoglu said that his country and the European Union are paying the price for the "failure" of the UN system to solve the crisis in Syria.

"Without control on our external borders, Schengen will become history," Tusk warned before the EU-Turkey meeting, making a reference to the European Union zone where there is free movement across national frontiers.

Diplomats said the 28 EU governments had struggled the day before to agree to a final offer.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said the EU cannot give Turkey a "blank check," and added that his country is not ready yet to provide the funds.

Fueled by the Syrian war, some 900,000 people have entered the EU this year in what has become Europe's worst refugee crisis since World War II.

In a recent membership report, the EU criticized the Turkish government's interference with its justice system and the government's pressure on the media.

With reporting by AP, BBC, and Reuters
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