Turkey is demanding an additional €2 billion— on top of the 3 billion that has already been pledged by the European Union, to help the country stem the flow of refugees, according to a German newspaper report.
German daily “Die Welt” quoted an unnamed EU diplomat who revealed that “Ankara now wants €5 billion, but we are prepared only to give the promised €3 billion.”
Negotiations over the final amount were fierce, according to the report, with Turkey demanding €3 billion a year and the EU countering, by promising that sum over two years, to be paid out piecemeal as conditions are met.
The EU has already pledged €3 billion during November negotiations as part of a deal which was supposed to help Ankara slow down the flow of refugees into Greece. In return, the pace of EU accession talks with Ankara was also to be stepped up and Turkish citizens traveling to the European Union were to receive visa-free travel.
But the Turks countered with a €5 billion request and also want more of a say in how the money is spent, protesting at the EU’s insistence on overseeing the disbursement of funds.
“The Turkish government is having a very hard time accepting that the billions of euros in aid for refugees are to be paid out step-by-step and after strict checks by the EU,” the diplomat continued in the DW story.
But EU sources insist that strict oversight must be in place as they fear money will creep into the Turkish system and line the pockets of corrupt officials, rather than being of benefit to Syrian refugees, according to the DW story.