Turkey’s Presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın on Tuesday said the migrant crisis would continue as long as war enduredin Syria and expressed hope for the leadership of EU officials in addressing the issue in an upcoming summit.
“Our (Turkey’s) hope, the expectation is that the EU leaders would show leadership there, and address this migration issue in a serious manner,’’ state-run Anadolu news agency cited Kalın as saying at a virtual panel organized by Ankara-based think tank, referring to the bloc’s summit slated for March 25-26th.
EU leaders are set tomeet in Brussels to discuss a string of issues, including Turkey-EU relations, the situation in the eastern Mediterranean, and relations with Russia, among others.
The bloc’s leaders should take on the migration issue with “a view of the fact that as long as the Syrian conflict continues, the war remains, and the country remains completely shattered,” Kalın said.
Turkey is home to the world’s largest refugee population of 4 million refugees, withover 3.7 million from Syria.
Kalın said the war in Syria was “the root cause of the migration crisis which led to the signing of the 2016 Turkey-EU migration agreement.’’
Turkey and the EU in 2016 agreed on a deal that aimed to cut the influx of Syrian refugees arriving into Greece. According to the deal, the EU promised the allocation of 6 billion euro in aid to Turkey to be provided in two instalments, which would be used for projects to help migrants. Although Turkey has received the first stage of funding, the bloc has yet to fulfil the second stage.
“As long as we avoid addressing this root cause, the Syrian war itself, we will not be able to find a lasting sustainable solution to the migration crisis,’’ Kalın added.