Turkey will help stem the flow of migrants to Europe in return for cash, visas and renewed talks on joining the EU in a deal struck on Sunday that the Turkish prime minister called a “new beginning” for the uneasy neighbors.
Leaders of the 28 European Union states met Turkish premier Ahmet Davutoglu in Brussels on Sunday evening to give their collective political blessing to an agreement hammered out by diplomats over the past few weeks.
A key element is 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) in EU aid for the 2.2 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, intended to raise living standards and so persuade more to stay put rather than attempt often perilous crossings to the Greek islands and the EU.
“The EU is committed to provide an initial 3 billion euro of additional resources,” the EU and Turkish leaders said in a joint statement. “The need for and nature of this funding will be reviewed in the light of the developing situation.”
The final wording was a compromise between the EU, which offered 3 billion euros over two years, and Turkey, which had pushed for the same amount annually. Now the money, as French President Francois Hollande said, will paid out bit by bit, giving a possibility of a total more or less than 3 billion.
Also on offer to Ankara, which has driven a hard bargain but wants to revive relations with its European neighbors as it faces trouble in the Middle East and from Russia, is a “re-energized” negotiating process on…