Turkey waits for EU to fulfill financial responsibilities for refugees
The European Union has completed the transfer of only 2.2 billion euros ($2.49 billion) of the total of 6 billion euros (3+3 billion euros) that pledged to Turkey as a part of refugee deal signed in March 2016. As Daily Sabah writes, as the EU Commission released its annual report about "The EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey," it stated that 6 billion euros were allocated for the fund, established in 2016, to financially support Syrian refugees in Turkey.
Within the scope of the fund, a total of 2.2 billion euro has been transferred to Turkey for supporting 84 projects in various areas such as humanitarian aid, education and health. In the report, it is stated that a total payment of 2,071,816,000 euros was completed during the first phase of the deal, while the payment of 149,767,000 euros was completed in the second phase.
As more than 1.5 million people have benefited from direct cash support projects, 470,000 refugees have benefited from conditional education support programs which provide education for Syrian children and other refugee children, the report stated. The report also indicates that EU funds were especially used to meet the basic needs of Syrian refugees. Turkey hosts more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world.
Ankara and Brussels signed an agreement in 2016 to find a solution to the influx of refugees heading to the union. According to the deal, Turkey was promised a total of 6 billion euros in financial aid, which was initially designed to be given to the country in two stages and be used by the Turkish government to finance projects for Syrian refugees. Visa freedom for Turkish citizens was also promised to be provided under the agreement.
Lastly, the customs union was also promised to be updated in accordance with the deal. In exchange for these promises of the EU, Turkey took the responsibility of discouraging irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of more than 3 million Syrians living in Turkey.
Despite significant developments in the control of migration traffic, the EU could not deliver on its commitments stated in the deal.