Turkey says it has not received any money for refugees under EU deal

Turkey has not received any money from the European Union for Syrian refugees living in the country, under a deal reached in March meant to see Ankara stem the flow of migration to the bloc, a spokesman said Friday.

"We have not received any money yet," said Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He noted that 120 million euros (134 million dollars) has been earmarked for refugee programmes but so far nothing has been delivered. 

This week, EU data showed the bloc has only taken in 177 Syrian refugees from Turkey in the past two months, though it had pledged to step up resettlement schemes. 

Turkey hosts more than 2.2 million Syrian refugees, according to the United Nations. Kalin said the government has spent more than 10 billion dollars on these people since the civil war broke out in 2011.

The Turkey-EU deal is meant to see the bloc give 3 billion euros at first, a sum that can later be doubled. In addition, Turkey hopes to gain visa free access to the EU's internal Schengen border-free zone.

The deal is currently in jeopardy, as Turkey is refusing to narrow its vague anti-terrorism laws, in line with a EU demand.

Turkey served as a major gateway country for refugees to reach Europe, though after the deal was reached, the security forces clamped down on human smugglers, drastically cutting the number of migrants taking dangerous boat rides to nearby Greek islands. 

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49

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