Turkey has announced that it wants fresh EU funding to deal with migrants in addition to an agreed sum of 3 billion euros. Prime Minister Davutoglu said his country was not a "concentration camp" for refugees.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that an agreed sum of 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) in return for Turkey's cooperation in stemming the flow of migrants in Europe would not be regarded as sufficient.
Speaking on Turkish television one day after German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Istanbul on Sunday, Davutoglu said that the money would come from the "IPA" fund - money already earmarked for Turkey as an EU membership candidate. He said that Turkey wanted additional cash.
"The 3 billion euro IPA fund proposal is no longer on the table, as we have said we will not accept it," Davutoglu said. "As for fresh resources, we're talking about a 3 billion euro amount in the first stage. But we don't want to fixate on this because the requirements may go up, and the assessment for this would need to be done annually."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday offered Turkey the prospect of support for faster progress on its bid to join the European Union as well as an accelerated path to visa-free travel for Turks. This followed the summit in Brussels last week where EU leaders had agreed on a migration "action plan" with Turkey, where the figure of 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) had been discussed.
Chancellor Merkel on Sunday had hailed as "very promising" progress on an EU-driven "action plan" after talks in Istanbul with Davutoglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Both Turkish President Erdogan and Davutoglu, whose ruling AK Party faces a general election on November 1, appeared keen to avoid any impression of weakness in dealing with European nations. They said earlier the the EU had only recently realised Turkey's value in the crisis.
Davutoglu: Turkey 'not a concentration camp'
Prime Minister Davutoglu caused further controversy on Monday, saying that his country was "not a concentration camp" and that it would not host migrants permanently to appease the EU.
"I said this to Merkel too. No one should expect Turkey to turn into a concentration camp where all the refugees stay in," Davutoglu said.
The talks had however resulted in a "positive response" to the government's request for visa liberalization, he said.
His comments came as the flow of people along the so-called "Balkan Route" into Europe via Turkey continued, with thousands of people streaming Monday into the Balkans, where tighter border controls forced people to sleep in freezing temperatures. More than 630,000 people have landed on Europe's shores so far this year, most of them making risky sea crossings from Turkey to Greece.
ss/msh (Reuters, AFP)