EU, Tur­key to thrash out refugee ac­tion plan

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY LORNE COOK

Lead­ers from the Euro­pean Union and Tur­key will fine-tune a plan Mon­day to help Ankara cope bet­ter with refugees from Syria and Iraq and limit the flow of peo­ple leav­ing to Europe.

Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan was ar­riv­ing in Brus­sels for talks with Euro­pean Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Don­ald Tusk, Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Jean- Claude Juncker and Par­lia­ment Pres­i­dent Martin Schulz.

The EU wants to “have a con­tract of mu­tual con­fi­dence that is nec­es­sary, given the cen­tral role Tur­key has played in the refugee cri­sis,” Euro­pean Com­mis­sion spokesman Mar­gari­tis Schi­nas said.

Tur­key hosts around 2 mil­lion refugees, many from Syria and Iraq.

Tens of thou­sands of peo­ple flee­ing con­flict and poverty have been cross­ing from Tur­key into Greece in the hope of find­ing bet­ter lives in Europe, and the EU wants Ankara to do more to stop them set­ting out.

The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion hopes to gen­er­ate around 1 bil­lion eu­ros (US$1.12 bil­lion) in Euro­pean funds to help lessen the im­pact of refugee ar­rivals on Tur­key, which is a can­di­date for EU mem­ber­ship. A com­mis­sion team was also due in Tur­key later Mon­day to as­sess co­op­er­a­tion on the ground.

In France on Sun­day, Er­do­gan ac­cused Euro­pean na­tions of “con­fin­ing refugees into the depth of the Mediter­ranean” in a ref­er­ence to refugees who drown try­ing to reach Europe.

He was speak­ing at a rally in Stras­bourg at­tended by hun­dreds of Turks, be­fore Tur­key’s Nov. 1 elec­tions. The speech was vised live in Tur­key.

Crit­ics ac­cuse Er­do­gan of or­ga­niz­ing ral­lies in Tur­key and

tele- Europe to drum up votes for the rul­ing Jus­tice and De­vel­op­ment Party, in breach of laws that re­quire him to be neu­tral.

AP

Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan, cen­ter left, greets Bel­gian Prime Min­is­ter Charles Michel, cen­ter, at the Royal Palace in Brus­sels on Mon­day, Oct. 5.

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