Turkey’s EU Ministry says it fulfilled obligations regarding migrant deal
Turkey has fulfilled its obligations regarding a 2016 deal signed between Turkey and the European Union to curb the flow of irregular migrants, Turkey’s EU Affairs Ministry has said on its official Twitter account on the second anniversary of the deal.
The ministry said on March 18 that the deal did not only curb the flow of migrants but also saw a decline in the number of migrants dying while trying to reach Europe by providing a safe and legal pathway for them.
“Thanks to the 18 March Statement, the average number of daily irregular crossings has declined from 7,000 [in October 2015] to around 43,” it said.
“Turkey has acted in accordance with the principle of pacta sunt servanda and fulfilled its obligations regarding 18 March Agreement. Unfortunately, the EU has not honoured all its commitments,” it added.
“We are still expecting the EU to activate Voluntary Humanitarian Admission Scheme which would provide legal ways for Syrian migrants to travel,” the ministry said.
The ministry said it appreciated the latest steps taken on Facility for Refugees in Turkey, but it criticized these steps for being not strong and fast enough.
As the deal also promised the acceleration of Turkey’s EU membership bid and visa-free travel for Turkish nationals within the Schengen area, the ministry called on the EU to take the necessary steps toward this direction, too.
“We expect the EU to take concrete steps on accession negotiations, visa liberalisation for Turkish citizens and updating Customs Union,” it said.
The EU reached the deal with Turkey in 2016, which sharply reduced the number of people crossing to Greece.
Under the deal, Turkey agreed to take back illegal migrants and refugees leaving its shores for Greece in return for aid.
The EU on March 14 unlocked a further 3 billion euros for refugees in Turkey, the second tranche of the deal.