The recent Brussels meeting of European leaders over Thursday and Friday, which was dominated by fevered discussions to reach a deal with Britain over its EU membership, overshadowed the summit’s second burning issue: Europe’s refugee crisis.
The absence of Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at the summit because of the week’s deadly attacks in his country had also contributed to the sidelining of the refugee issue – a crucial one nonetheless, and for which Turkey is still considered the key state to tackle the crisis, within the context of the EU-Turkish action plan.
The plan provides for the provision of three billion euros to Turkey to improve the living conditions of the migrants it is hosting.
However, according to Karslıoğlu: “we have not received anything, not a cent, and people are starving … Words are easy, but should be applied in practice”.
In his radio interview with Deutschlandfunk, the envoy stressed that Turkey does not need “alms”, but rather help to meet migrants’ increased needs.
Karslıoğlu highlighted the inability of his country to fully control the Syrian border, stating it was “thousands of kilometres in length”, adding that “the regional situation is extremely difficult”. However, he assured that Turkey was doing its best to secure its borders with both Syria and the maritime borders with Greece in the Aegean, in order to reduce the influx of refugee to Europe.
“We do the best we can in cooperation with our European partners, but it is not so simple,” he said. “We have received more than 2.5...