EU only praising, not sharing migrant burden, FM Çavuşoğlu

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 23.09.2017 00:17

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu levied harsh criticism at the European Union member states for not sharing the migrant burden on Turkey's shoulders, saying that continuously praising Ankara does not help the cause.

Speaking at a high-level meeting in New York as part of the United Nations' 72nd General Assembly meetings, the foreign minister said EU member states are constantly praising Turkey for what it has done on the migrant issue without alleviating the burden on Ankara's shoulders.

"No one wants to share the load. ‘Well done Turkey. Well done Lebanon. Well done Jordan. You are doing a great job. We envy you.' But how far can this go on like this? Where is the load share?" Çavuşoğlu asked, adding that the EU pledged to provide Turkey with 3 billion euros ($3.59 billion) because the cost is 10 times cheaper in Turkey.

The foreign minister stressed that the EU has only sent 820 million euros out of the promised 3 billion euros, so far.

Çavuşoğlu warned EU member states that peace and stability cannot be established in Syria without finding a political solution to the current turmoil. Stressing that the cease-fire in Syria should be strengthened, the foreign minister also said more than 100,000 people returned to towns such as al-Bab, Dabiq and Jarablus after they were liberated from Daesh by the Turkish military and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and peace was established.

Turkey and the EU signed a migrant deal in March 2016 to discourage irregular migration across the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of the nearly 3 million refugees in Turkey. Since then, the number of refugees illegally crossing the Aegean between Turkey and Greece has dropped 85 percent, according to the Turkish Coast Guard.

The March 2016 deal employs a one-for-one formula under which failed asylum seekers in Europe are returned to Turkey, while Syrian refugees are resettled in EU states in a quota system.

Ankara has criticized the EU for not keeping its promises and for not granting visa-free travel within the Schengen

Area.

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