Turkish president rails against Brussels failure to pay aid agreed under 2015 migrant deal

The EU has sent less than a third of the €3 billion pledged to Turkey under the refugee deal agreed in 2015, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday.

Speaking in Warsaw, where he is on a trade visit, the president said the EU had “only sent €885 million of its promised €3 billion plus.”

Under the EU-Turkey deal, which came into effect in March last year and has largely halted the tens of thousands of migrants crossing from Turkey to Europe, Brussels promised to speed up the allocation of €3 billion in aid to Turkey to help migrants.

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The agreement also contained provisions for Turkish nationals’ access to the Schengen passport-free zone and for the revitalization of Turkey’s EU membership bid.

However, there has been little movement on either as relations between Ankara and many EU member states have grown increasingly frosty in the wake of last year’s defeated coup attempt.

Referring to official accession negotiations, which started in 2005, Erdogan said: “I always say this: ‘Let us know if you are not going to accept us. You should not take up our time nor we take up your time. Let's finalize this.’

“They cannot make their decision on this and we are saying ‘We will not be the one to leave the table.’ We are waiting for their decision.”

Turkey hosts around 3 million Syrian refugees and Erdogan said the country had spent “over $30 billion” on helping and sheltering them since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011.

Erdogan’s comments came ahead of Thursday’s EU leaders’ meeting, when relations with Turkey are due to be discussed.