ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday accused the European Union of delaying the delivery of three billion euros promised under a landmark deal to stem the flow of migrants to Europe.
“What’s delivered to us so far is 179 million euros. What’s promised is three billion euros… The year is coming to its end,” Erdogan said in televised comments in the capital Ankara.
“They make promises but they do not keep them,” he said.
In exchange for cutting the flow of migrants pressing the doors of EU member states, Brussels has offered Ankara a number of incentives including the promised three billion euros ($3.4 billion), visa-free travel and accelerated membership talks.
According to the EU website, Brussels has this year alone agreed contracts worth more than 1.2 billion euros for various humanitarian projects for refugees — of which 467 million euros has already been paid out.
In the biggest project yet under the deal with Turkey struck in March, the EU last month launched a scheme worth almost 350 million euros providing mainly Syrian refugees with pre-paid debit cards.
Turkey is playing host to some three million refugees — most of them Syrian — under an open-door policy for people fleeing the conflict next door.
Erdogan said that whether or not the EU delivers the funds, Turkey would do its humanitarian duty for “people who flee the bombs”.