28th Oct 2016

Pay up on migrant deal, Turkey tells EU

  • Erdogan (l) has accused EU governments of being dishonest (Photo:

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told the EU to pay its dues if it wants to keep a migrant deal with Ankara intact.

Speaking to German ARD television on Monday (25 July), Erdogan said the EU had promised €3 billion in aid to help improve living conditions of the some 3 million Syrian refugee it hosts.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • The EU-Turkey deal has seen irregular crossings to Greece drop from thousands a day to fewer than 100 (Photo:

“Ask them [the EU]. Did you pay? But Turkey still hosts 3 million people. What would Europe do if we let these people go to Europe?”, he said.

"The [European] governments are not honest”, he added.

Erdogan estimated that Turkey has spent some $12 billion (€10.9 billion) to help refugees since the start of the five-year civil war in Syria.

Turkey agreed with the EU in March to prevent people from leaving to seek international protection in Greece.

In return, the EU agreed to speed up accession talks and lift short term visas for Turks, among other incentives.

Thousands of people were landing on the Greek islands on a daily basis at the height of the crisis last year.

Those figures have since dropped to double digits although reports are emerging of a small spike since the failed coup in Turkey earlier this month.

The European Commission's chief spokesperson last week said that the visa and migrant deals with Turkey remained unchanged despite the developments.

Erdogan also said Ankara would keep its end of the bargain.

"I want to say one thing quite clearly: On the refugee issue, we will stand behind our promises,” he told ARD.

Erdogan's comments follow the 15 July coup attempt and a subsequent purge that has seen thousands of teachers, judges, prosecutors, military and other civil servants dismissed or detained.

Arrest warrants for 42 journalists have been issued and over 220 employees of the state-owned national carrier Turkish Airlines have also been dismissed.

Turkey's government says the coup was organised by followers of the US based Fetullah Gulen.

Gulen, who has been exiled in the US since 1991, has denied any involvement.

"Mr Erdogan’s accusation is no surprise, not for what it says about me but rather for what it reveals about his systematic and dangerous drive toward one-man rule," said Gulen in an op-ed in the New York Times on Monday.

Erdogan has also threatened to reintroduce the death penalty in the wake of the coup.

In reaction, EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker threatened to stop all negotiations for Turkey's accession to the EU should Ankara install capital punishment.

"I believe that Turkey, in its current state, is not in a position to become a member any time soon and not even over a longer period," he told French television France 2 also on Monday.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersUN global sustainable development goals, integration, and security on agenda for Nordic Council Session 2016
  2. Taipei EU OfficeTaiwan Seeks to Join Fight against Global Warming
  3. ANCI LazioAnci Lazio Definetely has a lot to Celebrate This Year
  4. EU-China ForumDebating the Future of the EU-China Relations on 28 November in Prague
  5. COMECEMigrants: From Fear to Compassion
  6. Birdlife EuropeBusiness as Usual - Juncker Snubs Environment and Protects Broken CAP
  7. EFADraft Bill for a 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum
  8. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  9. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  10. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  11. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  12. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament

Latest News

  1. Calais children abandoned at former camp site
  2. Greece to probe UN allegations of illegal returns
  3. Poland defies EU on rule of law
  4. Belgium breaks Ceta deadlock
  5. Left MEPs thwarting Dieselgate probe, say right MEPs
  6. Cars should be allowed to exceed emissions limits, say experts
  7. EU case against Google is bad for developers
  8. Privacy activists mount court challenge to EU-US data pact