Turkey accuses Europe of failing to honor refugee deal: report

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Refugees and migrants are seen at the Moria hot spot on the island of Lesbos on March 16, 2017, almost a year after an EU-Turkey deal. The deal, signed on March 18, 2016, has sought to stem the flow of migrants from Turkey to the EU, in particular Greece, by land and sea routes.Some 3000 refugees and migrnts live in the Moria camp , out of some 14000 stucked on the Aegean islands since the closing of the borderss and the implementation of the deal. / AFP PHOTO / LOUISA GOULIAMAKI

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Wednesday accused the European Union of failing to honor a refugee deal, strongly criticizing the bloc for failing to pay Turkey the amount it promised, Deutsche Welle English service reported.

The criticism came two days before German Chancellor Angela Merkel was to make an official visit to Turkey.

Çavuşoğlu told the German Bild newspaper that the EU had promised to pay Turkey €3 billion ($3.33 billion) in both 2016 and 2018.

“Now it is 2020 and we still have not received the first €3 billion in its entirety,” he said.

Under the deal agreed in 2016, the number of Syrian refugees arriving in the EU via Turkey has declined.

In addition to the financial shortcomings, Çavuşoğlu has also accused the EU of not respecting other parts of the refugee deal as agreed.

The 2016 agreement called for Ankara to stop the flow of migrants headed to the EU and accept the return of people who traveled to the EU via Turkey if their applications for asylum were denied in Europe. In exchange, the EU promised billions of euros of aid to Turkey and to reexamine membership talks for Turkey’s place in the bloc as well as the possibility of visa-free travel for Turks visiting the EU.

“We are sticking to the deal and take all refugees who are sent back to us. What about the EU?” he asked. “There has been no expansion of the customs union and no further discussions about our membership in the EU.”

Despite his criticism, Turkey’s top diplomat also confirmed that he supported continuing the migration pact.

Merkel will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Istanbul on Friday.

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