Erdoğan planning summit with Germany, France, UK to discuss migrant crisis: report

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AFP PHOTO / ARIS MESSINIS

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Tuesday he would host a summit in İstanbul on March 17 with the leaders of France, Germany and possibly Britain to discuss migrants after Turkey started allowing them to try to cross into Europe, Reuters reported.

Speaking to reporters on his plane returning from Brussels, Erdoğan said Turkey was not considering closing its border gates to Europe for now and that Greece must open its own gates.

The European Union and Turkey agreed to review a four-year-old deal on managing migrants and refugees in an effort to settle a dispute that sent thousands of people to the Turkish-Greek border in hopes of reaching Europe, top EU officials said Monday, according to The Associated Press.

Under the 2016 agreement, the EU offered Turkey up to 6 billion euros ($6.7 billion) in aid for the Syrian refugees it hosts, a fast-tracked EU membership accession process and other incentives to stop Europe-bound migrants. The number arriving in Greece from Turkey dropped dramatically after the deal took effect.

After talks with the Turkish president in Brussels, European Council President Charles Michel said teams headed by the EU foreign policy chief and Turkey’s foreign minister would work “in the next days to clarify the implementation of the deal between Turkey and the EU to be certain that we are on the same page.”

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that during the talks with Erdoğan “there was a clear focus on ‘Let’s discuss what is fact. Let’s sort out how both sides see the past and how we evaluate the EU-Turkey statement’.”

The Turkish leader left without speaking to the media. Officials from his office described the talks as “productive.”

Turkey hosts more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees, and Erdoğan has demanded that Europe shoulder more of the burden of caring for them.

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