Turkey begins receiving 3-bln-euro fund for Syrian refugees from EU
Emine Kart - ANKARA
Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu (L), European Council President Donald Tusk (C) and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker speak during a press conference at the end of an EU leaders summit with Turkey centered on the the migrants crisis, at the European Council, in Brussels on March 8, 2016. AFP PhotoA senior Turkish Foreign Ministry official has confirmed that Ankara has begun “partially receiving” a fund of 3 billion euros which the EU approved in early February for Turkey to improve living conditions for refugees in exchange for Ankara ensuring fewer of them migrate to Europe.
The plan was first agreed to with Ankara in November 2015 and all 28 EU countries signed off on the proposal in February.
While confirming that Turkey had eventually begun receiving the funding for certain projects, the senior official, however, didn’t elaborate on amount they had received. Speaking with a group of journalists under customary condition of anonymity on March 11, the official also didn’t elaborate on which projects have been funded so far.
At a special summit on the migration crisis held in Brussels on March 7, the Turkish government and the EU agreed on a deal due to be finalized on March 17-18 which would see Turkey take back all illegal migrants landing in Greece.
Visa-free access to Europe’s passport-free Schengen zone and a speeding up of Ankara’s efforts to join the EU is also reportedly part of the deal.
The renewal of passports is just one of many conditions that Turkey still needs to fulfill to meet the accession criteria. Accordingly, in the event of visa liberalization, Turkish citizens will have to renew their current passports. Yet, they will still be able to use their current passports for travelling to non-Schengen countries, the Foreign Ministry official said.