Turkey-EU migrant deal on agenda during leaders’ summit

The migrant agreement between Turkey and the European Union signed in 2016 needs to be updated, taking into account developments in Syria, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told the Anadolu Agency today.

The conditions have changed since March 2016, when Turkey and the EU first forged a deal on migrants, he said.

“We will discuss with the EU what we can do on refugees under the new circumstances. If we reach an agreement by March 26 when there will be an EU leaders’ summit, this issue will come on to the agenda of this meeting,” Cavusoglu added.

Criticising Europe for not welcoming refugees from the embattled province of Idlib, northwestern Syria, he said the bloc does not provide any support for people seeking asylum from there, he said.

The migrant deal between Turkey and the EU was signed in 2016 and aimed at discouraging irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of some three million Syrian refugees in Turkey.

After the deal, the number of Syrian refugees in Turkey increased to 3.7 million or more, along with a new wave of refugees coming from Idlib after the regime’s attack, Turkish officials have said.

Turkey has criticised Europe’s failure to keep its promises under the 2016 deal, including delivering under half the €6 billion ($6.8 billion) it pledged to help Syrians in Turkey.

With 3.7 million Syrian migrants in Turkey already, Ankara says it is overburdened by the refugee influx.

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