Turkey still expects the European Union to comply with the migrants deal reached in 2016, Deputy Foreign Minister Yavuz Selim Kıran said Thursday.
He was speaking at the Vienna Migration Conference 2018, organized by the International Center for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD).
Kıran underlined that the EU needs to immediately launch a voluntary humanitarian admission program and accelerate implementation of the financial pledges made to Syrians living in Turkey.
He added that the Turkish citizens have been waiting for the promised visa liberalization.
In March 2016, Brussels and Ankara reached an agreement to take stricter measures against human trafficking, discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea and improve the living conditions for Syrian refugees in Turkey.
The agreement also promised to accelerate Ankara's EU membership process and visa-free travel for Turkish nationals in the Schengen area, provided that Ankara fulfills a list of 72 criteria set by Brussels.
At the panel, Kıran said that nearly 4 million refugees and hundreds of thousands of immigrants from other countries live harmoniously in Turkey.
Migration, one of the key issues of the 20th and 21st centuries, is nothing new for Turkey. With its cultural understanding, empathy and compassion, Turkey has welcomed people fleeing persecution and war in Syria, Kıran said.
He added that some countries remain incapable of dealing with such unexpected and large human influx; however, thanks to its past experience, Turkey has done more for the welfare of refugees.
"Our public and nongovernmental organizations have spent $33 billion to meet the needs of refugees and migrants. We provide shelter, food, non-food items, health, education as well as psychosocial support for them. Moreover, Syrian people have the right to work legally in Turkey," Kıran said.
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