Turkey-EU refugee deal needs update – Çavuşoğlu
The 2016 refugee deal between Turkey and the European Union needs an update to include the safe return of Syrian and Afghan refugees back to their countries, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Thursday.
“With regards to the Afghans, there will be no cooperation if there is an understanding like ‘we are paying you so you keep refugees’,” Çavuşoğlu told a joint press conference with Dutch foreign minister Sigrid Kaag in Ankara, according to the independent news site Bianet.
Under the 2016 deal, Turkey agreed to keep Syrian refugees headed for Europe on its soil in return for billions of dollars of financial aid from the EU. Now that a new wave of refugees have begun heading to Europe following the rapid takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban last month, some EU countries want to extend that deal to include Afghan in Turkey also.
Not only is Ankara opposed to such an update, but Çavuşoğlu insisted that Syrians and Afghans would be returned to their countries “voluntarily and safely”.
“This problem is getting bigger and bigger,” he said. “It also creates problems. If it’s a problem for the EU, it’s a problem for Turkey as well.”