In a move that is expected to ease immigration pressure on Greece’s eastern border, the Turkish Parliament on Thursday ratified a readmission agreement with the European Union.
Under the deal, which was signed by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Brussels in December, Turkey will have to take back immigrants who enter the bloc illegally via Turkey.
The EU will finance the construction of migrant reception facilities and the creation of a border protection force to strengthen the monitoring of Turkey’s eastern frontier.
“The agreement reflects our shared interest for a more effective migration and border management setting out clear obligations and procedures for the authorities of Turkey and the EU member states,” EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said.
Ankara had held off on signing the deal until the EU started talks on visa liberalization, particularly for Turks wishing to travel to the EU’s passport-free Schengen zone.