Turkey ‘is hold­ing EU to ran­som’ over im­mi­gra­tion cri­sis

Pres­i­dent de­mands £2.1bn a year for his help

Daily Mail - - Front Page - From John Stevens Brus­sels Cor­re­spon­dent

TURKEY was last night ac­cused of hold­ing the Euro­pean Union to ran­som as the coun­try warned that it would keep de­mand­ing bil­lions ev­ery year for it to help stem the in­flux of mi­grants.

EU lead­ers signed off on a deal on Sun­day to hand over 3bil­lion euros (£2.1bil­lion) and al­low Turkey’s 75mil­lion cit­i­zens visa-free travel in Europe.

But last night it emerged that rather than be­ing a one- off pay­ment, Turkey’s pres­i­dent Re­cep Er­do­gan wants EU coun­tries to stump up the same ev­ery year in re­turn for it slow­ing the mi­grant flow.

David Cameron has agreed Bri­tain will con­trib­ute at least £ 260mil­lion to­wards the first pay­ment, but tax­pay­ers could now face de­mands for more and more money.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage said: ‘ By de­mand­ing more money and threat­en­ing to flood the EU with more mi­grants, Er­do­gan is try­ing to hold us to ran­som.

‘Bri­tain shouldn’t pay this wannabe Is­lamist dic­ta­tor a penny but in­stead take back con­trol of our own bor­ders by leav­ing the EU. I am in­creas­ingly sus­pi­cious of Turk­ish mo­ti­va­tion in many ar­eas and don’t wish to be in­volved in a po­lit­i­cal union of which Turkey will be­come a mem­ber.’

Turkey has been able to make its ex­tra­or­di­nary list of de­mands as it is the main route for mi­grants into Europe. The Is­lamic coun­try is cur­rently home to more than 2mil­lion Syr­ian refugees.

At the Brus­sels sum­mit on Sun­day, EU lead­ers agreed to ‘re- en­er­gise’ talks on Turkey be­com­ing a mem­ber and al­low its cit­i­zens eas­ier ac­cess to the bor­der-free Schen­gen zone, of which Bri­tain is not a mem­ber. The EU had planned to give 3bil­lion euros over two years to im­prove con­di­tions in refugee camps so peo­ple are less in­clined to move to Europe. But af­ter hard bar­gain­ing from the Turks, they signed up to the fig­ure be­ing only ‘an ini­tial’ pay­ment, with an agree­ment for it to be ‘re­viewed in the light of the de­vel­op­ing sit­u­a­tion’.

In re­turn, Turkey has claimed it will stop refugees il­le­gally cross­ing into Europe via Greece and take back eco­nomic mi­grants who have had their asy­lum ap­pli­ca­tions turned down in EU coun­tries.

EU of­fi­cials said 1.5mil­lion peo­ple have il­le­gally come to Europe this year. De­spite ex­tract­ing such a high price for his co- op­er­a­tion, Turk­ish prime min­is­ter Ah­met Davu­to­glu has ad­mit­ted the agree­ment is likely to end in fail­ure even if his coun­try ful­fils all its agreed terms. ‘I wish to say to you, “yes, the num­ber of the mi­grants will de­cline” but we can­not say this as we don’t know what will be go­ing on in Syria,’ he told a press con­fer­ence on Sun­day night.

Ex­perts last night stressed that the deal was un­likely to sig­nif­i­cantly slow the flow of mi­grants trav­el­ling to Europe.

‘What Euro­peans are ask­ing of Turkey is un­re­al­is­tic and un­re­al­is­able,’ said Cen­giz Ak­tar, a po­lit­i­cal sci­en­tist from Is­tan­bul’s Bahce­se­hir Univer­sity. He added: ‘They must be dream­ing. No­body can pre­vent these mi­grants head­ing to Greece or to Bul­garia – be­cause they have no fu­ture in their own coun­try or in Turkey.’

Un­der pres­sure: An­gela Merkel

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