EU to offer Turkey $3.2 billion to stop refugee tide

Ahead of Brussels summit, European officials say ‘difficult’ negotiations ahead before final deal on aid package is reached

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AFP) — EU leaders will offer Turkey cash and a boost for its membership bid in exchange for its cooperation with the migrant crisis at a summit Sunday, but officials warned a final deal will involve “difficult” negotiations.

The European Union is expected to agree a €3 billion ($3.2 billion) aid package for Turkey to help it stop the flow of refugees to Europe from the conflict in Syria, 2.2 million of whom are currently in Turkey.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, standing in for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is also set to win a deal for the opening in December of a new chapter in Turkey’s stalled accession talks for the 28-nation bloc.

But conditions are likely to be attached to both, while Turkey’s shooting down of a Russian jet on the Syrian border on Tuesday will also add strain to an already complicated relationship between Brussels and Ankara.

“This meeting will provide new momentum to relations. It’s important in so many aspects because it’s the first EU-Turkey summit in 11 years,” Davutoglu told reporters at Ankara airport as he left for Brussels.

“It had already been decided that Turkey should not shoulder the migrant problem alone. A joint action plan has been agreed.”

Davutoglu, who will meet NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday, called on European leaders to back Turkey in its stand-off with Russia, which has imposed sanctions on Turkey over the plane incident.

Full article: EU to offer Turkey $3.2 billion to stop refugee tide (The Times of Israel)

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