EU to Spend €485 Million over Next Year on Migrants in Turkey


Over the next year and into early 2022, the European Union is planning to spend nearly half a billion euros on Syrian migrants currently living in Turkey.

The European Commission announced the move this week, which will see an extension of aid programmes that will be managed by the Turkish branch of the Red Crescent aid group along with the Red Cross and UNICEF, with part of the money going toward educating an estimated 700,000 children living in Turkey.

According to a report from the Greek newspaper I Kathimerini, the money will go toward 1.8 million migrants in total, while an estimated four million migrants currently reside in the country.

The cash comes after years of cash payments from the European Union to migrants in Turkey after the negotiation of the EU-Turkey migrant deal in 2016 that has paid out an estimated 6 billion euros. The deal also made promises to extend visa-free travel to Turkish citizens but has not delivered on the promise, which was made in exchange for Turkey keeping migrants from entering the European Union.

After repeated threats, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan opened the gates to migrants earlier this year and tens of thousands of migrants attempted to cross the land border between Greece and Turkey in the Evros region.

The border was closed again in late March due to the outbreak of the Wuhan virus, but not before it was alleged that Turkish authorities were helping migrants cross the border illegally. A German intelligence report went as far as accusing Turkish agents of sparking riots to help migrants storm the border while disguised as migrants themselves.

While the number of migrants has declined since the onset of the pandemic, illegal border crossings have not stopped completely. Last week a Syrian migrant was caught at the border smuggling Turkish-made firearms and drugs, for example, and there have been further claims by Greek media that Turkey continues to actively help migrants cross the border.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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