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Mar 20, 2020

FM: The European Union and Turkey must reach a new deal to stem migrant flows

The foreign minister has said that until the European Union and Turkey reach a new deal to stem migrant flows, Turkey cannot be expected to halt the flow of migrants towards the bloc’s external borders.

The foreign minister has said that until the European Union and Turkey reach a new deal to stem migrant flows, Turkey cannot be expected to halt the flow of migrants towards the bloc’s external borders.

Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said migration pressure on the Greek-Turkish border is unlikely to ease until Brussels begins taking Turkey’s requests, needs and concerns seriously.

Following a phone call with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minster Szijjártó said migration pressure towards Turkey was on the rise, adding that some 1.5 million Syrian internally displaced refugees had set off for the country. He said that according to Çavuşoğlu, Turkey was also facing increased migration pressure from the directions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

According to MTI, Minister Szijjártó noted that Turkey stopped 455,000 migrants last year. He said a new deal between Turkey and the EU was especially important given that uncontrolled mass migration presented serious health risks at a time when every government measure is aimed at minimizing close contact between people.

Minister Szijjártó also said the EU and Turkey were at odds over a EUR 6 billion aid package promised to Turkey to help it cope with the refugee situation, with the two sides disagreeing on how much of that aid the bloc has paid out. “What’s certain is that it’s not 6 billion,” Minister Szijjártó said, adding that it was time for Brussels to reach an agreement with Turkey that would “settle the matter once and for all”.