Ankara, Jan 25 (IANS) The European Union is closely monitoring if Turkey’s measures were helping reduce the record flow of migrants to Europe, after a deal of three billion euros ($3.19 billion) was reached with Ankara in 2015 to curb migration, a senior EU official said on Monday.
European Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn made the remarks at a joint press conference in Ankara with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkish EU Affairs Minister Volkan Bozkir and EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, Xinhua reported.
The composition of refugees passing through Turkey has changed, with Syrians fleeing the civil war now making up less than 40 percent, Hahn said.
For her part, Mogherini said she was “very confident” the EU would deliver the pledged three billion euros to Turkey in return for its help in stemming the flow of migrants to Europe.
The fund has so far been stalled due to objections from Italy.
“I am very confident that the amount that was decided will be there in very reasonable timing,” Mogherini said.
She stressed that the EU must do more to support Turkey in its effort to care for the refugees, adding that improving conditions within Syria through a transition process was extremely important.
Mogherini further said she shared her concerns with Cavusoglu and Bozkir about the situation in Turkey’s southeast, where military operations are ongoing against militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“We call for an immediate cease-fire in the southeast and strongly condemn all kinds of terrorism,” Mogherini told reporters, adding that the two sides must return to peace talks.
Hahn added the EU was ready to work with Turkey on a new peace process with PKK militants, stressing that the problem has a negative impact on the region, the EU and Turkey itself.
The reignited conflict with the PKK has already affected the planned Syria peace talks as well, which the UN envoy is “trying hard to make inclusive”, Mogherini said.
But, Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu said the inclusion of groups like the Syrian Kurdish People’s Defence Units (YPG), which has links to the PKK, in the talks as part of the opposition would disrupt the process.