Turkey and the EU struck a deal on Sunday the 29th of November in which Turkey will keep refugees in the country in exchange for 3 billion euros, visas, and renewed talks on Turkey’s candidacy for the EU.
Leaders of the European Union met with Turkish premier Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Brussels to finalise the agreement that has been pulled together this past month, in response to the current refugee crisis.
Under the deal, the 3 billion euros must be spent on the near 2.2 million Syrian refugees currently in Turkey. The intent with this plan is to raise the standard of living such that refugees will prefer to remain in Turkey over attempting to make the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean by boat.
The deal also will include Turkish naval support and border checks as a means to help control migration to the EU. In return, Turkish citizens should be able to travel without visas in Europe’s Schengen Zone by October 2016.
The rules will be relaxed however, only if Turkey meets a particular set of conditions, indicating they are following the agreement. The total sum will be paid out in accordance to if the rules are followed over time.
Summit chairman Donald Tusk, President of the European Council has said that the summit was intended strictly to discuss migration, rather than to discuss the improvement of ties between Turkey and the EU.
Hours after the deal was announced, Turkish authorities rounded up 1,300 asylum seekers allegedly preparing to make their way to Greece. Hundreds of Syrians, Afghans, Iranians and Iraqis and three people smugglers were seized on Monday in the countryside near Ayvacik, a Turkish town north of the Greek island of Lesbos. This is thought to be the largest single mass arrest of refugees in recent months.