Before Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Ankara, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu accused the EU of failing to pay the full amount promised in the refugee agreement. "We stick to the agreement and take back all refugees who are sent back. What about the EU?" Said Cavusoglu the image, The EU had promised to pay the first three billion euros at the end of 2016, and another three at the end of 2018, the minister said, complaining: "Now it is 2020, and we still have not received the full three billion euros."
In addition to the financial commitments, other commitments were not fulfilled: "There was no expansion of the customs union and no new chapter in the EU accession negotiations," Cavusoglu criticized. "For the reasons alone (…) we could have opened our borders," said the minister. Despite all the criticism, Turkey is for a continuation of the agreement.
At the center of the EU's refugee agreement with Turkey in 2016 is a barter: The EU can send all migrants who have illegally transferred to the Greek islands since March 20, 2016 back to Turkey. In return, for every Syrian returned to Turkey since April 4, 2016, another Syrian from Turkey can legally come to the EU. In addition, a total of six billion euros was agreed to improve the living conditions of Syrian refugees in Turkey. The EU also announced that Turkey would waive the visa requirement more quickly.
The EU pointed out last fall that 5.8 billion euros had already been allocated from the committed funds. However, only 2.6 billion were paid out. EU officials in Turkey say that they have to keep pointing out to Turkish officials that the money is project-related and not for the budget.
Merkel is traveling to a meeting with the Turkish president on Friday
Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Istanbul. Main topics of the talks are likely
refugee policy and the conflicts in Syria and Libya.
Given the increasing numbers of refugees in the Greek islands and
of multiple threats Erdogan is concerned that the between the
EU and Turkey's existing refugee pact is at risk.