Turkey criticises EU for \'four-month\' delay over refugee funds

Friday 04/03/2016
Turkey is offering more and demanding more

ANKARA - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday criticised the European Union for a four-month delay in disbursing a promised 3 billion euro fund for refugees agreed under a November deal.

"It's been four months. They are yet to deliver," Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara, as Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu held summit talks on the migrant crisis with EU leaders. "Mr prime minister is currently in Brussels. I hope he will return with the money," said Erdogan.

A half-day summit between the European Union and Turkey was extended on Monday after Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu offered "new ideas" going beyond Ankara's commitments so far to curb a flood of migrants to Europe, an EU official said.

"They are offering more and demanding more," the official said after the first working session.

He said Davutoglu was to set out further-reaching proposals over a working lunch with the 28 EU leaders and the summit would continue into the evening to try to reach agreement on them.

An EU diplomat said Turkey wanted more than the 3 billion euros pledged so far in aid for Syrian refugees on its soil, an immediate speeding up of its EU accession talks and bringing forward visa-free travel for Turks to Europe to this spring.

In return, Ankara was ready to take back non-Syrian migrants refused asylum in Europe in addition to those stopped in Turkish territorial waters, he said.