EU,Turkey agree on €3 bn aid deal for Syrian refugees in Turkey

DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
ISTANBUL
Published 29.11.2015 21:25
Updated 29.11.2015 22:23
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (L) and European Council President Donald Tusk give a news conference after a EU-Turkey summit in Brussels, Belgium November 29, 2015. (AA Photo)
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (L) and European Council President Donald Tusk give a news conference after a EU-Turkey summit in Brussels, Belgium November 29, 2015. (AA Photo)

Speaking after the EU-Turkey summit with 28 leaders in Brussels on Sunday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said that the European Union and Turkey have agreed on a 3 billion euro aid deal for Syrian refugees in Turkey, while expressing that this summit has re-energized Turkey's EU membership drive.

"We agreed to have two EU-Turkey summits every year, and also high-level energy dialogue", the PM said, adding that "no disagreements emerged" during the meeting.

Davutoğlu announced after the summit that the EU will open the 17th chapter of Turkey's EU accession process on economic and monetary policy in December this year.

"[On] December 14, Chapter 17 will be opened," he said, referring to one of the 35 policy areas in which countries aspiring to EU membership must bring their laws in line with the bloc's standards.

Davutoğlu highlighted that this was "a historic day and a historic meeting, the first meeting of this kind since 11 years."

He also said that Turkish citizens would be able to travel visa-free to EU countries in the passport-free Schengen area by October 2016.

"I am happy to see that all my colleagues in Europe agree that Turkey and the EU have the same destiny," Davutoğlu added.

He said "Turkish membership will be an asset; not only to the EU, to Turkey, but also to global peace."

Along the line with the freshly-made deal on refugees and the Syrian crisis, Davutoğlu drew attention to the fact that Turkey and the EU were the ones paying the price for the 'failure' of the UN system to deal with the war and chaos that has been going on for four years and has displaced millions of people.

"No one can guarantee anything on the Syrian issue, we don't know what will go on in Syria, but I can assure that Turkey will be fulfilling all the promises of the joint plan. Our purpose with the EU is to prevent new waves of refugees from Syria and to manage the existing refugee crisis," he said.

"This three billion euros is to be spent for refugees in Turkey, it's not for Turkey," he reiterated.

European Union president Donald Tusk said at the end of the four-hour summit that after years of a standstill and sluggish progress at best, Turkey's membership drive should make quick progress.

EU President Donald Tusk also saw the summit as a new starting point in relations.

Turkey is one of the neighburs most affected by the 4-year-old civil war in Syria, having hosted 2 million refugees.

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