European Union is preparing to pay Turkey tens of millions to help bolster its coast guard. (Photo Credit: File Photo)
As increasing numbers of migrants and refugees are leaving Turkey in hopes of finding sanctuary or jobs in Europe, the European Union is preparing to pay Turkey tens of millions to help bolster its coast guard. “We have prepared a set of measures amounting to some 50 million euros ($55 million),” said Maciej Popowski, the deputy director-general for EU enlargement policy.
After well over 1 million migrants entered Europe in 2015 most of them fleeing the war in Syria the EU hurriedly agreed to pay Turkey up to 6 billion euros ($6.7 billion) to stop migrants from leaving the Turkish coast for Greece. Arrivals dropped to a relative trickle after the deal took effect.
Popowski told EU lawmakers that Turkey directly requested more money from EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos during talks in Ankara in early October.
The money would be drawn from a budget meant to prepare Turkey to join the EU and from a separate “peace and stability” fund.
Meanwhile, Turkey has agreed to "pause" its military action in Syria launched on October 9 on the condition that Kurdish forces withdrew from an initial 120-kilometre area from the border, following a deal with US Vice President Mike Pense last Thursday. Turkey has, however, repeatedly threatened to restart its offensive, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowing to "crush the heads" of Syrian Kurdish forces if they failed to retreat. "At the end of the 120-hour period, the United States announced that withdrawal of PKK/YPG from the area has been completed," the Turkish defence ministry said. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a phone call with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu Wednesday, also confirmed that US military officials informed their Turkish counterparts Kurdish forces withdrew from the safe zone.