Daily Sabah: EU to provide additional fund for Syrian refugees in Turkey

The EU announced Tuesday that an additional fund of 127 million euros ($141.97 million) will be provided for Syrian refugees in Turkey.

The newly announced fund, which was revealed by the European Commission, will be an addition to the cash assistance program that was launched by the EU as the largest-ever humanitarian program that aims to support the Syrian refugees in Turkey.

"To ensure refugees continue to be supported by the EU's largest humanitarian program in Turkey, the commission has today announced an additional 127 million euros to the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) program via the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey. This new funding brings the total EU contribution to the program to 1.125 billion euros," the statement expressed.

According to the statement, Christos Stylianides, commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management, said: "The EU is upholding its commitments to Turkey and the most vulnerable refugees."

"Out of the funds of 6 billion euros, over 5.6 billion euros have been allocated, over 3.5 billion euros contracted and over 2.4 billion euros have already been disbursed, with over 80 projects already rolled out," the statement added, referring to the 2016 refugee deal with Turkey.

Ankara and Brussels signed an agreement in 2016 to find a solution to the influx of refugees heading to the union. According to the deal, Turkey was promised a total of 6 billion euros in financial aid, which was initially designed to be given to the country in two stages to be used by the Turkish government to finance projects for Syrian refugees. Visa freedom for Turkish citizens was also promised to be provided under the agreement. Lastly, the customs union was also to be updated in accordance with the deal. In exchange for these promises, Turkey took the responsibility of discouraging irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of more than 3 million Syrians living in Turkey.

Although the first stage of the funding was provided to the country, based on the commission's progress report on migration, the EU failed to provide the rest of the funding and did not fulfill its other promises within the given time frames. Likewise, negotiations for updating the customs union have yet to start, despite the deal stating they must be done by the end of 2016.

One of the most important articles of the deal, the visa liberalization for Turkish citizens, which was expected to be completed by June 2016, has also not been fulfilled.

Daily Sabah