Turkish Deputy PM Blames EU for Failing to Meet Obligations Under Refugee Deal

© AP Photo / Lefteris PitarakisSyrian refugee children chant slogans behind a fence at the Nizip refugee camp in Gaziantep province, southeastern Turkey.
Syrian refugee children chant slogans behind a fence at the Nizip refugee camp in Gaziantep province, southeastern Turkey. - Sputnik International
The European Union failed to fulfill its commitments under the deal with Ankara to tackle the influx of refugees, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek told journalists on Tuesday.

Far right-wing supporters march during rally against the German government's immigration policies and migrants, near-by the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany. - Sputnik International
Merkel to Uphold EU-Turkey Refugee Deal Despite Ankara’s Post-Coup Crackdown
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — In March, the European Union and Ankara agreed on a deal under which Turkey pledged to take back all undocumented migrants who arrive in the European Union through its territory in exchange for Syrian refugees accommodated in Turkey, on a one-for-one basis. In return, the bloc pledged to accelerate the Turkish EU accession bid and introduce a visa-free regime.

"The EU has failed on their part of the bargain," Simsek said.

According to the deputy prime minister, the Turkish side not only agreed to readmit all illegal migrants, but also issued working permits for Syrian refugees in the country, as well as provided education, care and catering.

"In return, the EU had to keep obligations: one was to liberalize visa regime, meaning that Turks will enter EU visa-free, they have not delivered on that, because last minute they came up with additional conditions, and secondly they were met to provide assistance to Syrians refugees – not to Turkey – they were met to give some financial support. On the paper the deal is that, but it is yet to materialize,” he said.

The deputy prime minister added that Turkey had already spent over $11 billion on setting up just one refugee camp, which hosts only one tenth of a total number of refugees in the country, while the EU contributed only $500 million.

Initially the EU pledged some $3 billion for accommodation of Syrian refugees with the option of an additional $3 billion in the following years.

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